On October 5, a panel of INTA members met with OHIM officials, OHIM examiners and representatives from the national offices for the 2015 INTA/OHIM Industry Training Seminar. The seminar was organized by INTA’s Government Officials Education and Training Committee and took place at OHIM’s office in Alicante, Spain. The theme of this year’s meeting was “Trademarks in Regulated Industries.”
The morning session focused on the agencies other than trademark offices involved in a company’s decisions regarding the selection and use of trademarks. The panel was moderated by Frances Jagla, of Lane Powell PC, and included representatives from various industries:
• Alcoholic beverage industry: Jose Ramon Fernandez, Director of European Corporate Affairs, Pernod Ricard
• Banking industry: Carrie Hefte, Senior Vice President, Wells Fargo & Company
• Pharmaceutical industry: Maria Fernandez-Marques, Senior European Corporate Counsel for Pfizer GmbH
• Tobacco industry: Ronald van Tuijl, Director of Intellectual Property, JT International, SA
From left to right: Maria Fernandez-Marques (Pfizer GmbH), Ronald van Tuijl (JT International, SA), Carrie Hefte (Wells Fargo & Company), Frances Jagla (Lane Powell), Reyes Campello Estebaranz (CEALAW, Project Team), and Jose Ramon Fernandez (Pernod Ricard)
The morning session was opened by H. M. Bello, Director of the OHIM Academy, and Ronald van Tuijl, President-Elect of INTA. The session was attended by senior OHIM representatives and OHIM examiners as well as examiners and representatives from multiple national offices. In addition, over 50 attendees participated via webinar. After introducing their respective companies and responding to specific OHIM questions on subjects ranging from the importance of 3D marks to acquired distinctiveness, the panelists described the regulatory realities in their industries. These regulatory discussions helped to provide the examiners with a framework to identify specific challenges of companies doing business in regulated industries. Included in the discussion were the impact of geographical indications in the alcoholic beverage industry and the advent of the e-cigarette and “vape-ing” products and their classification in the tobacco industry.
After a networking lunch, the afternoon sessions involved breakouts for each industry. The sessions gave the panelists one-on-one time with OHIM to provide additional information regarding their industries—including the challenges faced at OHIM and the national offices. This also gave OHIM the opportunity to ask the panelists questions and to help define where a national office can improve its services to an industry.
OHIM expressed its thanks and appreciation for the day of training and looks forward to next year’s events. For more information on INTA’s involvement within this examiner’s training session, please contact Ryan O’Donnell, Manager, Member Operations, at RODonnell@inta.org.
A special thanks to Frances Jagla for her contribution of this blog post.