INTA Bulletin

July 15, 2017 Vol. 72 No. 12 Back to Bulletin Main Page

Staff Changes at the Europe Representative Office and a Busy Start to the Summer

The first “summer edition” of the Europe Update is here, with some important news to start with.

Effective July 1, Hélène Nicora is the new Chief Representative Officer of INTA in Brussels; she joined INTA in February 2013 as a Policy Officer and subsequently as a Representative Officer. Together with a small and dynamic team, Ms. Nicora will support INTA’s operations in Brussels and at the national level in Europe, including representation of the Association to the EU Institutions and other stakeholders, and she will advise on and implement INTA’s policies, membership development, and communications efforts.

Ms. Nicora replaces Christina Sleszynska, who stepped down after setting up the Europe Representative Office and leading its growth for more than ten years.

Milesh Gordhandas, Advisor, Europe Office, who has been working for INTA for almost ten years, will continue responding to members’ queries, developing INTA’s membership in the region, while supporting INTA’s marketing and communications efforts in Europe.

INTA's Europe Representative Office also welcomes two new Policy Officers to the team.

Hadrien Valembois joined INTA on July 7. A Belgian national, Mr. Valembois was formerly with Europtimum Conseil, an EU public affairs consultancy, for more than five years. He holds an LLM in International Legal Studies from the University of Georgetown, Washington, D.C., and a Masters in International Relations from the University of Louvain, Belgium.

Carolina Oliveira joined INTA on July 10. A Portuguese national, Carolina was formerly with the European Commission—Directorate General for the Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs (DG GROW). This followed a four-year stint of legal practice at Portuguese law firm PLMJ—Sociedade de Advogados.

Mr. Valembois and Ms. Oliveira will focus on a range of policy advocacy priorities that protect trademarks and related rights, and foster further harmonization of laws and convergence of practices, both at the EU level and at national levels across Europe. Their priorities include: the review of the EU IPR Enforcement Directive; the implementation of EU trademark reform and the EU Customs Regulation; the enforcement of IP and trade rights; the enforcement of the Digital Agenda; reviewing practices of trademark offices and advising on national legislation and enforcement; and supporting the fight against counterfeiting, which includes promoting INTA’s Unreal Campaign to bring counterfeit awareness to youth across the continent.

They will also be staff liaisons for several INTA advocacy committees, including the Designs Committee and the Geographical Indications Committee, and they will support the European Subcommittees of the Legislation & Regulation and Amicus Committees, and the EUIPO and European National Trademark Office subcommittees.

The Brussels-based office continues to o represent INTA in Europe and to support members and others (government officials, prospective members, other associations, and stakeholders at large) in Europe.

Whether you want to find out about: INTA’s policy position on a given topic; how to volunteer in our committees and influence the work of the Association; how to renew or—if you are not an INTA member—join membership; how to register for one of our educational programs; or how to use our online resources, do not hesitate to contact Hélène, Milesh, Carolina, or Hadrien. They will be happy to speak to you (in English, Dutch, French, Portuguese, or Spanish).

INTA CEO Visits Paris to Build Bridges and Advance the Association’s Objectives

INTA CEO Etienne Sanz de Acedo was in Paris on July 12 to meet with various organizations. He met with Directors and key representatives from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the International Chamber of Commerce’s Business Action to Stop Counterfeiting and Piracy (ICC-BASCAP), APRAM (the French-speaking association of trademarks and designs professionals), and the French IP Office (INPI).

The various meetings aimed to develop existing relations and explore further collaboration opportunities to advance INTA’s work and to serve brand owners, including opportunities for (joint) impact studies, educational programming, and advocacy.

Ensuring Consumers Get Legitimate Goods When Purchasing Online

The German Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection, the European Commission – DG GROW, and the European Union Intellectual Property Office hosted the International IP Enforcement Summit, held on June 22‒23 in Berlin, Germany.

Zeeger Vink (Maus Frères, France), member of the INTA Board of Directors, attended the event on behalf of the Association. Mr. Vink chaired the session on New Practices and the Role of Intermediaries. This session identified new approaches and technologies to facilitate legitimate dissemination of content and distribution of goods. The session featured three panelists. Catherine Boudot from Servier and the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries Association talked about new identification and tracking systems in pharmaceutical products. Jacques Schramm from National Commission for the Management of Responsible Collaborative Relations (AFNOR) talked about International Organization for Standardization (ISO) quality standards and the increased concern with responsible, sustainable IP procurement. Marc Kaufman from Digital Commerce talked about blockchain databases and their role in securing accurate data and information.

A video of Mr. Vink summarizing this session is available here.

The event took place as the European Commission published its mid-term review of the Digital Single Market in May. It remains to be seen what will happen with the review of the EU IPR Enforcement Directive—with legislative proposals originally expected to come out this autumn.

IP Rights Customs Enforcement in the EU

On July 6, Huib Berendschot (AKD, The Netherlands), member of the Anticounterfeiting Committee—EU Subcommittee, represented INTA at the fifth meeting between EU customs and rights holders and stakeholders on customs enforcement on IP rights. Mr. Berendschot was accompanied by Hélène Nicora, Chief Representative Officer—Europe.

This meeting was held in the context of Action 1.3.2 of the EU Customs Action Plan to combat IP rights infringements for the years 2013 to 2017. The objective of the event was to inform stakeholders about the recent developments and practical issues reported by EU member states, IP rights holders, and other parties involved in IP rights enforcement. The meeting included an exchange of views on how Regulation 608/2013 has been applied and what challenges customs authorities have been facing, based on the Commission’s report on the implementation of Regulation 608/2013.

The Commission concluded that there was no need to amend Regulation 608/2013 but that further cooperation among member states’ customs, the Commission, and stakeholders was needed on certain aspects.

Mr. Berendschot gave a presentation on INTA’s efforts in supporting such cooperation, which was well received, given that counterfeiting is an increasing phenomenon while the EU national customs’ IP budget is shrinking. There was an agreement among all participants to focus on information sharing to ensure concrete improvements, in an effort to benefit both customs and brand owners in the fight against counterfeiting.

How Online Platforms and Their Business Users Are Handling Disputes

On July 6, Milesh Gordhandas, Advisor, Europe Office, attended a workshop on unfair contracts and business practices on platform-to-business relations. Hosted by the European Commission—Directorate-General for Communications Networks, Content and Technology (DG CNECT), the workshop gathered experts on dispute settlement. The event was held under the Chatham House Rule.

The purpose was to inform DG CNECT on whether dispute resolution can constitute an effective means to ensure that the fundamental right to conduct a business of both operators of online platforms (such as app stores) and third-party business users of online platforms (such as app developers) are duly respected.

DG CNECT is currently conducting an impact assessment and planning further focus groups with EU member states and industry players before taking any action (before the end of the year). The findings will help the European Commission to assess options and actions to tackle unfair trading practices between platforms and business, and they will ultimately promote online platforms as responsible players of a fair Internet ecosystem—one of the objectives of the Commission’s Digital Single Market strategy.

INTA Comments on Various Trademark and Design Laws and Practices

In June, INTA submitted various comments to the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) on a variety of trademark and design-related topics, namely:
  • The draft examination guidelines for European Union Trade Marks, for Registered Community Designs and invalidity actions; and
  • Questionnaires on convergence projects in trademarks and in designs.
In addition, INTA advocated:
  • Against brand restrictions in the course of the ban of totalitarian symbols in Hungary; 
  • For a more efficient protection and enforcement of trademark rights in Ukraine; and
  • For an improved German trademark draft law in line with the new EU Trade Marks Directive.
The above was the result of the enthusiastic and tireless work of volunteers in our various committees and we take the opportunity to remind you that you can apply or re-apply for committees for the 2018‒2019 term here. The deadline for applications is July 31!

All of the above submissions can be accessed by INTA members on our Testimony and Submissions page at (nonmembers can join INTA at

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.

© 2017 International Trademark Association