I am very pleased to provide an update on the INTA meetings and events that recently took place in Brussels, Belgium.
On Monday, September 11, INTA’s Board of Directors participated in a highly informative government relations program that started with a keynote address from H.E. Ambassador Olivér VÁRHELYI, Permanent Representative of Hungary to the EU (Belgium), that provided an overview of the upcoming challenges and opportunities for the EU.
A panel then discussed the status of the Brexit negotiations between the EU and the UK, including how Brexit will affect brand owners and practitioners, and where IP stands in the negotiations. Speakers included:
- François ARBAULT, Head of Cluster, ‘Internal market and sectoral policies,' Task Force for the Preparation and Conduct of the Negotiations with the United Kingdom under Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union – European Commission (Belgium)
- Zorita POP, Co-leader of INTA Brexit Cross-Committee Task Force; Global Anti-Counterfeiting Counsel – Reckitt Benckiser PLC (United Kingdom)
- Marie AUDREN, Director, Trade & Economic Affairs – Spirits Europe (Belgium)
Another panel reviewed what the EU has achieved for businesses on brand protection, whether harmonization of regulations and practices between EU Member States has improved, and what’s next in the EU IP landscape. Speakers included:
- Amaryllis VERHOEVEN, Head of Unit F.5, ‘Intellectual Property and Fight Against Counterfeiting,’ Directorate-General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs (DG GROW) – European Commission (Belgium)
- Dimitris BOTIS, Deputy Director, Legal Affairs, International Cooperation and Legal Affairs Department – European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) (Spain)
- Cristina FERNÁNDEZ, Head of the Legal Coordination & International Relations Department – Spanish Patent and Trademark Office (Spain)
In the afternoon, consideration was given to the status, practicalities, and challenges of IP enforcement in the EU and at the EU borders. Speakers included:
- Paul MAIER, Director – European Observatory on Infringements of Intellectual Property Rights (Spain)
- Chris VANSTEENKISTE, Head of Intellectual Property Crime Coordination Center (IPC3) – EUROPOL (The Netherlands)
- Luc VAN DE VELDE-POELMAN, First Attaché – Belgian Central Administration for Customs and Excises (Belgium)
- Rolf ALTER, Director, Public Governance – Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) (France)
The final panel explored the current and upcoming challenges in addressing IP in global trade, as well as what can be done to obtain stronger IP protection and business-friendly trading environments. Speakers included:
- Maria MARTIN-PRAT, Director Services & Investment, IP & Public Procurement, DG TRADE, European Commission (Belgium)
- Susan WILSON, IP Attaché, U.S. Mission to the EU (Belgium)
The Board was honored to have a closing session with the EU Presidency of the Council. H.E. Ambassador Kaja TAEL, Permanent Representative of Estonia to the EU (Belgium), provided a unique perspective on the upcoming challenges for the EU Institutions and the future of the EU.
The day concluded with a reception with local INTA members and other partners of INTA’s Europe Representative Office.
On Tuesday, September 12, the Board held its third meeting of the year.
I am pleased to report that INTA’s Board of Directors approved the full slate of Committee Chairs and Vice Chairs for the 2018–2019 committee term, as well as Global Advisory Council Chairs, and Programming Advisory Council Members for the term commencing January 1, 2018.
The Board also passed two important resolutions.
The first resolved that it is the position of the International Trademark Association that whether an original creative work of art, such as a logo, also acts as a source-identifier worthy of trademark protection, should not hinder the ability of the artwork to receive copyright protection.
The second resolution supported, in principle, the conclusion of the Hague Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Judgments that would apply to trademark judgments.
The Board had a very informative and productive two days in Brussels and thanks the staff of INTA’s Europe Representative Office for being exceptional hosts.