In September, INTA made our own little bit of history in Alicante, Spain. First, we held our first Board of Directors meeting in Alicante and marked Etienne Sanz de Acedo’s first Board meeting as INTA CEO. With so much happening in the EU at the moment, it was indeed opportune to be at the home of the Community Trademark. The amazing sunny weather and equally warm welcome we received from the people of Alicante made it an extraordinary Board meeting for me.
It was a very productive meeting at which our Board members were extremely active and engaged in discussions. This makes me very happy - INTA is an organization that thrives only if its members are passionate about what it does and active in making things happen. This must start with the Board and I was personally inspired by the passion and leadership of our Board members in Alicante.
Additionally, the Board elected David Lossignol of Novartis Pharma AG to fill the unexpired Board term of a retiring member. We also approved the nomination of Committee Chairs and Vice Chairs for the two-year term beginning January 2014—an excellent slate of leaders who will be guiding the committee activities for the coming term. In anticipation for the presentation of the 2014 budget at the November Board meeting in Miami, the Board reviewed the Association’s financials, and we are happy to report that Association is financially healthy.
Of course, next year’s Annual Meeting in Hong Kong was a big topic at the Board meeting. This—our first in Asia—will serve as an opportunity to broaden our international community and help our member companies and firms develop their business in Asia’s bourgeoning consumer markets. I was very happy to talk to the Board about how my recent trips to Asia and even Brazil all help us to make Hong Kong meeting spectacular!
We also had a preview of the Government Relations Program that would take place the following day. Carla Schwartz, INTA’s External Relations Manager for Europe, reported on the Community Trademark Regulation (CTMR) and the Trade Marks Directive (TMD). INTA gathered more than 50 members from different Policy Development and Advocacy committees to produce comments and recommendations on these proposals, which were highly welcomed. The Commission’s proposals are now being reviewed by the European Parliament and the European Council.
The Government Relations Program addressed many of the key issues that relate to and impact OHIM and EU national offices, as well as users of these systems. INTA’s Board heard from representatives of the European Commission, Parliament, the Observatory, and National Offices, including a presentation by Cecilia Wikström, Member of the European Parliament (Liberal/Sweden), Rapporteur on the TM Package proposals. In a recent interview with the INTA Bulletin, Ms. Wikström shared her thoughts on the trademark proposals, her journey into European politics, and the changing perception of IP in Europe.
I want to say a very special thanks to OHIM for hosting INTA’s Board meeting in Alicante. In particular, I want to thank OHIM President Antonio Campinos – his leadership, passion, energy and good humor are an inspiration to all of us. He and his staff made us feel so welcome and even made this fantastic video of us sharing our perspectives on the meeting. Thank you Alicante – we hope to be back soon!