Join INTA in Sydney for a Look Beyond Trademarks

Published: July 15, 2018

To address some of the many issues facing brands in Asia-Pacific and beyond, INTA will host its 2018 Asia-Pacific Conference: Looking Beyond Trademarks-Protecting and Leveraging Your Brands for Growth, in Sydney, Australia, October 11‒12. This is the first time the Association is returning to Sydney in 10 years and will offer members in the region a convenient venue in which to gain insight on some key issues, according to conference co-chairs Ken Hamilton (Spruson & Ferguson, Australia) and Rebecca Thomas (Forever New Clothing Pty Ltd, Australia).

Ken Hamilton
Ken Hamilton is a Principal/Trade Mark Attorney at Spruson & Ferguson (Australia). He has more than 25 years of experience in IP and is co-chair of the 2018 Asia-Pacific Conference Project Team.

In line with the growing importance of this region to INTA members and brand owners everywhere, last year, INTA organized 34 events in Asia-Pacific-an increase of 143 percent over 2016 activity. The Association also nearly doubled its engagements with governments in the region in 2017 through policy dialogues, submissions, delegations, and face-to-face meetings; participated in 25 third-party events around the region; held an Anticounterfeiting Conference in Hong Kong; published an INTA Impact Study that found trademark-intensive industries generate between 27 and 60 percent of exports in each of Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand alone; and, just this year, launched its first Asia-Pacific Moot Court Competition in Singapore.

Mr. Hamilton and Ms. Thomas spoke with the INTA Bulletin about how the 2018 Asia-Pacific Conference will continue to expand upon INTA’s growth in the region and what registrants can expect from the two-day program.

What will be unique about this conference compared to others?
Rebecca Thomas (RT)
: From my perspective, being an in-house lawyer can sometimes be a little bit insular, so this is a great opportunity to meet a whole new raft of people. To me, the chance to be involved with it was too good to pass up.

Rebecca Thomas
Rebecca Thomas is General Counsel and Company Secretary at Forever New Clothing Pty Ltd, one of Australia’s fastest growing women’s fashion brands. Her previous experience includes in-house legal roles at companies such as Coles Myer, Visy Industries, Robert Bosch, and Just Group. Her key areas of practice include intellectual property, general commercial, trade practices, and corporate governance.

It was especially exciting to craft a conference that would appeal to in-house lawyers in particular. It’s been 10 years since INTA had its last conference in Australia, so it’s well overdue; Australians are always traveling far and wide to attend conferences, so it’s time that everyone comes here. The opportunity to have an Asia-Pacific focus is also unique. A lot of Australian conferences have an Australian focus only, and in-house lawyers like me don’t always have the time or the budget to go overseas.

Ken Hamilton (KH): We don’t have the chance to get a lot of input from our other neighbors in the region usually, so with this conference we’ve been able to get a really good mix of people who will cover a wide range of topics we don’t normally deal with in terms of our usual education as trademark practitioners. More and more, we’re being asked to give advice on topics that go “beyond trademarks.”

What does “Looking Beyond Trademarks” mean exactly?
: In the world we live in-for both in-house and private practitioners-there are a lot of questions beyond simply, “What is your trademark?” Today, the questions include: “What is your product?”; “What is your brand?”; and “How is it affected from the outside by issues such as brand restrictions, corporate identity, corporate social responsibility, and corporate culture?” These are big issues. It’s an opportunity for us to explore these issues in more depth and to be best prepared for the challenges ahead.

RT: I used to work for the global brand, Robert Bosch, and I saw firsthand the importance of the brand and the level of trust people placed in it. Brand protection is absolutely crucial in this day and age. There are a number of companies today whose IP and brands are worth more than their tangible assets. This conference is of relevance to every business today.

What topics in particular do you think will be of most interest?
: I’m really interested in Session 4-Bringing Your Business Online: The View from China. I think that will be of interest to everyone. More and more businesses are looking to break into China or establish a foothold there, so this is a great way to get some firsthand insight into how to do it and how to protect your trademarks and brands at the same time.

KH: This will be one of the first conferences where we will have had some time to see the real impact of the changes imposed by the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation
and to have people in a position to speak from their experiences as to whether it’s had an effect on strategies. It will be a very hot topic that will be addressed in a number of the sessions.

What is your hope overall for those who attend?
: I’d like them to walk away thinking they’ve learned something, that they’ve expanded their experience, and made some good, valuable, and lasting contacts. In my experience, every time I’ve attended an INTA conference, I’ve always come away feeling like I’ve made some really good contacts that will help me in my career moving forward.

RT: I hope people who attend can come away with some really great ideas and suggestions to take back to their business about how they can help it to continue to grow, which I think is really important. It also has to be said that this is a great opportunity to get continuing professional development points, which we all need. The caliber and diversity of speakers that we have planned is going to be quite unique-they won’t be just lawyers, and they’re not only from Australia: there will be speakers who are experts in their field from across the region. I really encourage in-house lawyers, in particular, to come along and contribute.

To register for INTA’s 2018 Asia-Pacific Conference: Looking Beyond Trademarks-Protecting and Leveraging Your Brands for Growth, visit the conference homepage.

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