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January 15, 2012 Vol. 67 No. 2 Back to Bulletin Main Page

Volunteer Spotlight: Amber Sterling


Amber Sterling is a paralegal and the Senior Intellectual Property Specialist at the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) in Washington, D.C., USA. She is in charge of AAMC’s trademarks, copyrights, domain name portfolio and IP enforcement program. The running joke in the office is that Amber never learned how to share in kindergarten and intellectual property enforcement allows her often to say, “No, mine!” To be fair, however, her cease and desist letters do typically start as “To Whom It May Concern.”

The AAMC is a non-profit organization formed in 1876. Its mission is to serve and lead the U.S. and Canadian medical academic communities. The Association has 23 brands registered around the world. Most notably, it administers the Medical College Admission Test® (MCAT®) in 20 countries. The AAMC uses its trademarks to promote innovative healthcare systems and protect the security and integrity of the medical school and residency application process.

In 2007, Amber attended her first INTA meeting, the Trademark Administrators Conference. After repeatedly answering questions such as “You’re a non-profit, what brands do you have? Why would you need to protect them?”, she found other non-profit representatives and formed INTA’s ad hoc non-profit group. The group has just become a formal INTA committee, the Non-Profit Organizations Committee. Its purpose is to help non-profit organizations to collaborate on trademark issues and to pool their resources and expertise. Amber is extremely grateful for the assistance provided by INTA in forming this committee, which consists of 40 individuals from the INTA community, including non-profits and outside law firms, and she is thrilled that the Committee is beginning its official work.

INTA has allowed Amber to have a career in trademarks without being an attorney. She has found her niche with the generous and invaluable guidance of her INTA colleagues. Any question, any topic, any favor, any time, and a willing member of INTA has been there to assist.

Amber grew up in Seattle, Washington, USA, and she found her transition to the other Washington to be relatively easy: all she had to do was trade in her flip-flops and jeans for pants suits and pearls. Recently Amber adopted a two-year-old basset hound, named Eleanor, from a local rescue league. She and Eleanor are nearly inseparable and enjoy the occasional take-your-dog-to-work day. As much as Amber would like to, she doesn’t think that INTA will let her bring Eleanor to next year’s Annual Meeting in her hometown of D.C.


Although every effort has been made to verify the accuracy of items in the INTA Bulletin, readers are urged to check independently on matters of specific concern or interest.

© 2012 International Trademark Association