I’m thrilled to be blogging from San Diego and INTA’s largest Annual Meeting ever! With over 9,800 registrants as of today we have almost 4,000 more trademark professionals in attendance than we did the last time we were in San Diego, in 2005.
One of the first events at any Annual Meeting is the second quarterly meeting of the Association’s Board of Directors. For much of the day on Saturday, your Officers, Board and staff leaders met to conduct the official business of INTA and to discuss recent and upcoming activities.
Following preliminary business, I presented the President’s Report, which included an update on our recent trips to Japan and Thailand. During those delegations we had some very productive meetings with government office leaders, in particular, a long meeting with the Commissioner of the Japan Patent Office. Also, we heard from INTA Counsel David Fleming (Brinks Gilson & Lione, USA) on the initial work of this year’s Presidential Task Force on Association Governance. That Task Force is looking at revising the Association’s bylaws and also at the governance of the INTA Foundation.
Following that were reports from various board committees, including the Audit, Finance, Compensation & Benefits, Nominating and Planning Committees.
The Board next heard reports from the three committee groups—Education & Services, Law & Practice Resources, and Policy Development & Advocacy. Some highlights of the group reports were:
An update on the activities of the Europe Office, particularly the EU Trademark Reform project
An update on activities in the Washington, D.C. office
Highlights of Annual Meeting sessions and events created by the committees in the ESG group
The announcement that the May-June issue of The Trademark Reporter will publish that journal’s first article in Spanish (an English translation will be included).
Two policy resolutions were approved by the board.
National exhaustion of trademark rights in relation to the parallel importation of goods should be applied; and
In those countries that currently follow international exhaustion, and in which political or other conditions make it highly improbable that national exhaustion would be implemented, a “material differences” standard should be adopted in order to exclude parallel imports that are materially different from those products authorized for sale by the trademark owner in the domestic market.
Thanks to the Parallel Imports Committee for their work in researching and formulating the resolution and to Committee Vice Chair Julia Huston (Foley Hoag, USA) for presenting the resolution to the Board.
Plain and highly standardized packaging measures being considered or imposed by governments should be rejected or repealed since they violate various international treaties and national laws on trademark protection including provisions of the Paris Convention (e.g., Articles 6quiquies, 7 and 10bis), the Technical Barriers to Trade Agreement (e.g., Article 2.2), and the Agreement on Trade-related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) (e.g. Articles 2, 8.1, 15.4, 17, 20 and 26), in particular Article 20 which states that “the use of a trademark in the course of trade shall not be unjustifiably encumbered by special requirements such as … use in a special form or use in a manner detrimental to its capability to distinguish the goods or services of one undertaking from those of other undertakings;” and
Governments should use less drastic alternatives to address health and safety goals, such as public educational campaigns which do not violate international and national law and expropriate valuable trademark rights.
Thanks to the Emerging Issues Committee for their work in researching and formulating the resolution and to committee member Paul Kilmer (Holland & Knight LLP, USA) for presenting the resolution to the Board.
Finally, CEO Etienne Sanz de Acedo presented his report. This included a presentation of the 2016 calendar of Meetings and Conferences as well as a discussion on membership dues for 2016.
The meeting adjourned just before 4pm—giving Board members enough time to prepare for the INTA Gala. Overall, the Board of Directors Meeting was a great kick-off to the 137th INTA Annual Meeting.