INTA President Tish Berard Speaks at USPTO National Trademark Exposition

Published: August 1, 2018

INTA’s Washington, D.C., staff has been focused on advocacy this summer, participating in events representing the trademark community in Congress and government agencies. The Washington, D.C., Office looks forward to the INTA Leadership Meeting in New Orleans, Louisiana, which will occur just weeks before the conclusion of this Congressional session.

Following is an update on some key activities since the July 1 edition of the INTA Bulletin. Please contact Debbie Cohn, Senior Director of Government Relations, at [email protected] with any questions.

USPTO National Trademark Exposition
On July 27, INTA’s 2018 President, Tish Berard (Velcro Group Corporation, USA), spoke on a keynote education panel titled “Counterfeits and Con Artists: The Real Dangers and Costs of Fake Goods” at the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s (USPTO’s) 2018 National Trademark Exposition, which was held at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History and attracted 26,000 visitors on July 27 and 17,000 on July 28. In a packed room with consumers of all ages, Ms. Berard spoke about the direct harms caused by counterfeit goods, including noting that all companies are challenged by counterfeiting when trying to protect their brands. She discussed how counterfeiting undermines a brand’s research and development efforts and diminishes consumers’ trust, especially when those consumers receive counterfeit products of substandard quality.

Ms. Berard explained that counterfeiting is a crime that endangers public health, dislocates millions of jobs, and drains government revenue, including funds to run key services. She noted how counterfeiters benefit financially from selling counterfeit goods and that counterfeiters rarely receive long prison sentences. She also pointed out that, with over 1.5 billion websites, the Internet has provided counterfeiters with the ability to reach consumers online, while acting anonymously, including the opportunity to hide internet protocol (IP) addresses.

Ms. Berard discussed INTA’s commitment to global outreach initiatives, including education, and encouraged attendees to visit INTA’s Unreal Campaign booth at the Exposition to learn more about the direct harms presented by counterfeiting.

Capitol Hill Briefing
In late July, INTA member and Chair of the U.S. Subcommittee of INTA’s Anticounterfeiting Committee, Tara Steketee (Merck & Co., Inc, USA), represented INTA in an informal briefing for staff from both the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, organized by Congressional Trademark Caucus Co-Chair, Representative John Ratcliffe, a Republican Congressman for Texas’ 4th District. The briefing, which was limited to Congressional staff, focused on the security and safety challenges presented by counterfeiting and INTA’s recommendations for best practices in dealing with online counterfeiting.

In her remarks, Ms. Steketee described how counterfeit medicines have even been given to patients in a medical setting that have led to adverse effects, including death. Congressional staff in attendance indicated a strong interest in increasing opportunities for coordination to help address the challenges presented by counterfeiting and opportunities to educate consumers. INTA is continuing the dialogue and will be arranging further briefings.

IP Associations Convene July Meeting
In late July, representatives of leading U.S. intellectual property (IP) associations, including the American Intellectual Property Law Association, the American Bar Association’s IP Law Section, the Intellectual Property Owners Association, and INTA, held a meeting focused on key U.S. agency issues and new stakeholder initiatives. In addition, the attendees discussed priorities for the remainder of the 115th Congress, which will conclude at the end of 2018.

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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