INTA Presents at Intellectual Property Training Program for Foreign Service Officers

Published: September 15, 2018

Chun T. Wright Law Offices of Chun T, Wright Washington D.C., USA

On July 23, on behalf of INTA’s Anticounterfeiting-United States Subcommittee, Chun T. Wright (Law Office of Chun T. Wright, PLLC, USA) spoke on a panel titled “What Does U.S. Business Need From Us?” for the Annual Foreign Service IP Institute Training held at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s (USPTO’s) Global Intellectual Property Academy in Alexandria, Virginia.

Overview of Program and Participants

The program is an annual collaboration between the USPTO and the United States Department of State (U.S. Department of State) to provide intellectual property (IP) training for Foreign Service Officers, most of whom do not have extensive experience in IP. The program provides an opportunity for Foreign Service Officers to learn about key IP issues and to develop private-public relationships that will enhance their IP work abroad.

Participating in this year’s program were approximately 15 U.S.
Department of State Officers (Foreign Service Officers) assigned to key economic posts around the world, including Bosnia and Herzegovina, China, Ethiopia, Israel, Italy, Lebanon, Pakistan, Vietnam, and Washington, D.C.

In addition to INTA, the panel included speakers from the Business Software Alliance, Pharmaceutical Manufacturers of America, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Lisa Dyer, Director of the Office of IP Enforcement (IPE), Bureau of Economic & Business Affairs, U.S.Department of State, moderated the discussion.

INTA Presentation

Several Foreign Service Officers indicated at the outset that they were not familiar with INTA, which provided an excellent opening for Ms. Wright to introduce them to the Association and the Anticounterfeiting Committee (ACC), which consists of 285 members globally. She stated that anticounterfeiting is a top priority for INTA, brands, and consumers, as demonstrated by INTA’s abundant programs and initiatives in this area. She also gave an overview of the ACC’s work in the United States and abroad through its nine regional subcommittees to foster effective trademark laws, policies, and frameworks worldwide on behalf of INTA members.

Ms. Wright explained that the overall issues addressed by the ACC are customs and border measures, criminal enforcement, and sale of counterfeits online and presented the following examples of INTA’s anticounterfeiting work: (1) in February 2017, INTA and ICC-BASCAP released a report from Frontier Economics, titled The Economic Impacts of Counterfeiting and Piracy, which quantified the global value of counterfeiting and piracy and related economic and social cost, strongly indicating along with other reports that the counterfeit trade is continuing to rise; and (2) in December 2017, the ACC completed a best practices guide on Addressing the Sale of Counterfeits on the Internet, which contained recommendations involving all stakeholders involved in online counterfeiting.

Ms. Wright highlighted INTA’s work with government officials in the United States and throughout the world, noting the Association’s collaboration with customs officials. She also stressed the need for greater information sharing between government and industry, particularly regarding information in documents that could be investigated by industry, so that both sides can more vigorously and seamlessly work together to tackle sophisticated criminal networks that profit from the global trade in counterfeits.

Robust Q&A Session

During the Q&A period, an engaging exchange between the speakers and the Foreign Service Officers illuminated the strong interest of all participants in working together to establish private-public partnerships to fight counterfeiting. Ms. Wright and her co-panelists stressed the importance of these relationships in combating the scourge of counterfeiting.

The participants were also interested in public outreach and education, which allowed Ms. Wright to highlight INTA’s Unreal Campaign and its aim to educate teenagers about the dangers of counterfeiting and the importance of trademarks.

The discussion also covered opportunities for working together, with Ms. Wright and her co-panelists providing examples of effective collaborations between industry and the U.S. government. With the rapid evolution of the Internet and technologies that are being exploited by counterfeiters in ways unimaginable even 10 years ago, Ms. Wright stressed that we are now faced with the challenge of an even greater game of “whack-a-genetically modified super mole.”

The panelists concluded the program by offering their continued support to the U.S. Department of State and the Foreign Service Officers on IP rights matters.

How INTA Members Can Get Involved Locally in Private-Public Partnerships

INTA’s ACC is active in nine regions. Its local member representatives often liaise with U.S. and local government officials in the regions. If you would like more information about, or an introduction to, government officials in the regions in which you operate or if you are having counterfeiting problems, please contact INTA Anticounterfeiting Manager, Maysa Razavi, at [email protected].

INTA thanks the U.S. Department of State and the USPTO for organizing and inviting INTA to participate in this important training program.

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. Law & Practice updates are published without comment from INTA except where it has taken an official position.

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