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Published: April 15, 2018

INTA’s 2018 India Delegation: Applauding the Rise of “Brand India”

India is currently the world’s fastest growing large economy after China and is projected to be the world’s second largest by 2050. To assist India’s ascent to becoming a global superpower, the Indian government put in place the country’s first ever National IPR Policy (the Policy) in 2016. The Policy provides a clear roadmap on intellectual property (IP) rights issues and aims to stimulate innovation and creativity across all sectors of the country.

Now in its third year, the Policy is undoubtedly proving to be a harbinger of positive, real, and holistic change in the IP rights regime in India. While INTA already actively collaborates with the government in its efforts to strengthen the IP landscape at both the public and policy levels, the Association is committed to providing support to any new initiatives that are undertaken to meet the Policy’s objectives.

In that context, INTA’s annual India delegation visit is a significant event on the Association’s calendar. INTA looks forward each year to the opportunity to strengthen its existing robust partnerships with Indian officials and relevant IP constituents to identify new and effective ways to work together to advance trademark and related rights in India.

This year’s event marked INTA’s eighth annual delegation to India and took place March 14‒16 in New Delhi and Mumbai. The delegation was led by INTA’s 2018 President, Tish Berard (Hearts On Fire Company, LLC, USA), and INTA CEO Etienne Sanz de Acedo. They were joined by both corporate and associate members from India and other jurisdictions in a series of successful meetings with government officials, including India’s Trade Marks Office, judges, Indian customs officials, officials from the Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion (DIPP), as well as IP attachés and representatives of relevant industry and IP associations.

During all meetings, INTA’s 2018-2021 Strategic Plan was introduced and was unanimously admired.

On March 14, INTA hosted a half-day workshop titled “A ‘Brand’ New Day-Preparing for the Present and Future of Trademarks” in New Delhi that was attended by 130 registrants consisting of both corporate and associate representatives. During her remarks introducing the workshop, Ms. Berard described the rise of “Brand India,” explaining that India’s 50 top brands grew 21 percent in value in 2017 to an unprecedented USD 109.4 billion. This includes growth in local brands, 38 of which are now part of India’s top 50, compared with 35 in 2014.

On March 16, INTA and K&S Partners hosted a roundtable in Mumbai titled “Trademark Enforcement in India-Challenges & Opportunities,” which concluded the delegation and boasted eminent speakers from the bench, bar, industry, and enforcement agencies.

The delegation also interacted with INTA’s India members, industry representatives, and other dignitaries at the various receptions and galas that were organized during the three action-packed days.

Meeting with the DIPP

In New Delhi, the INTA delegation met Ramesh Abhishek, Secretary, DIPP, Ministry of Commerce and Industry; Rajiv Aggarwal, Joint Secretary, DIPP; and the entire team of the Cell for IPR Promotion and Management (CIPAM). Mr. Sanz de Acedo and Ms. Berard congratulated the officials on the very strong and palpable improvement in India’s IP landscape over the past few years-particularly the past 12 months. Mr. Sanz de Acedo expressed deep appreciation for DIPP’s efforts to steer the country’s IP administration in the right direction and for allowing INTA to provide input from time to time.

The delegation and the officials engaged in relevant discussions on topics that included brand valuation, counterfeiting and piracy, and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs)/startups and their relationship with IP. On behalf of the specialized task force under the aegis of INTA’s Enforcement Committee-Trademark Enforcement Policy Advocacy Subcommittee, the delegation also submitted for DIPP’s consideration a paper containing INTA’s recommendation and support for an amendment to Section 134 of the Trade Marks Act, 1999 so as to strengthen brand owners’ access to effective judicial enforcement and discourage infringement and counterfeiting.

You can read more about the Indian government’s initiatives on its IP rights regime here.

Meeting with the Controller General of Patents, Designs, and Trade Marks

In Mumbai, the delegation had a successful meeting with O.P. Gupta, Controller General of Patents, Designs, and Trade Marks (CG), and his colleagues from the Trade Marks Registry. The meeting was energetic and positive as the delegation thanked the CG for all the improvements that have been witnessed at the Registry under his leadership, in terms of initiatives for clearing backlogs and reduction in pendency, consolidating official forms from 74 to just eight, digitization, developing e-filing and automated processes, and IP protection schemes for startups.

The CG was highly appreciative of INTA’s endeavors on the Trade Marks Manual Project and also encouraged the Association to submit any comments and recommendations related to IP challenges faced by Indian brand owners in neighboring countries, which could then potentially be taken up formally with the other South Asian IP offices and commerce ministries.

Meeting with the Customs Commissioner and the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs

As in past years, the delegation had a warm and engaging interaction with Sandeep Kumar, Commissioner of Customs and Export Promotions.

The discussion was multifaceted and touched on topics including: the introduction of the new customs e-recordation tool that can be used by rights holders; the significance of small seizures of counterfeit goods; and the need to share relevant official data related to seizures in India.

Other Notable Meetings and Receptions

The delegation had the distinct honor of attending a splendid reception hosted by the Honorable Justice Prathiba M. Singh of the Delhi High Court. The delegation also met members of India’s Global Advisory Council over lunch to discuss various policy issues, priorities, and membership initiatives by INTA in India.

The delegation also met the IP attachés of the European Union, France, Germany, Japan, the United States, and UK to discuss their missions in the country for 2018, as well as any key issues for brand owners.

An introductory meeting of the delegation was also held with Invest India, the country’s national investment promotion and facilitation agency that acts as the first point of reference for investors in the country. This was a stimulating meeting where both sides discussed the possibilities of supporting each other on IP-related issues.

The delegation had effective interactions with numerous prospective corporate members and met with local SMEs in relation to Ms. Berard’s Presidential Task Force, which is in part studying issues surrounding SMEs and entrepreneurs in IP.

The INTA team also enjoyed an excellent Pre‒Annual Meeting Reception hosted by K&S Partners on March 15 at the iconic India Habitat Centre in New Delhi. This reception was attended by almost 150 guests and set the ball rolling for this year’s much anticipated Annual Meeting in Seattle, Washington, USA.

The Association would like to extend its sincere thanks to the supporters of the Association’s efforts in India, including Jyoti Sagar (K&S Partners, India); members of the India Global Advisory Council (IGAC); IGAC Co-chairs, Hemant Singh (Inttl Advocare, India) and M.S. Bharath (Anand & Anand, India); and the following INTA members:

  • Pravin Anand (Anand & Anand, India)
  • Murlidhar Balasubramanian (Castrol India Limited, India)
  • Shailendra Bhandare (Khaitan & Co., India)
  • Mandar Chandrachud (Godrej Consumer Products Ltd, India)
  • Rajamallaiah Cirumalla (Sun Pharmaceuticals, India)
  • Bhavesh Haria (Asian Paints Limited, India)
  • Sarita Joglekar (Reliance Industries Ltd., India)
  • Pulin Kumar (Adidas India, India)
  • Shwetasree Majumder (Fidus Law Chambers, India)
  • Samta Mehra (Remfry & Sagar, India)
  • Ranjan Narula (RNA, IP Attorneys, India)
  • Neeraj Panchal (John Deere India Pvt Ltd., India)

For more information on INTA’s activities in India, contact Gauri Kumar, INTA India Consultant, at [email protected].


J. Trevor Hughes, International Association of Privacy Professionals: Why Trademark Lawyers Should Care About Privacy

As CEO of the International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP), J. Trevor Hughes says his biggest challenge is “managing and scaling growth.” With a new data privacy scandal in the news seemingly every week and the recent passage of the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), effective privacy strategies are now inextricably tied to brands and their value.

Mr. Hughes, who began his career in corporate law, became one of the earliest privacy professionals in the country at the turn of the millennium and has now been with IAPP for 16 years. His colleague, Sam Pfeifle, will be speaking at the Annual Meeting in Seattle on March 19 in a session titled “Privacy’s Goodwill Implications,” which will examine why intellectual property (IP) professionals and brand lawyers should not be viewing privacy merely as a compliance issue. “Privacy is not just a compliance function,” says Mr. Hughes. “It’s an organizational function. No matter where you sit in the organization, if you are touching data, you are a risk vector for privacy.”

Mr. Hughes spoke in more depth with the INTA Bulletin about what trademark and brand lawyers should keep in mind as privacy risk continues to grow.

What is the IAPP and what are some of its priorities?

IAPP is a professional association dedicated to serving privacy professionals. We are 18 years old as an organization and have grown from a couple of hundred members to 38,000 members in 107 countries around the world today because of the explosion of privacy concerns and risk. From my desk, the biggest challenge is managing and scaling growth inside the building.

When did the issue of privacy start to become more prominent?

There have been a few key moments. One was in 2003 with the passage of the first notice of security breach law in the world (California S.B. 1386). That law said something really simple-if you have a database and you believe it’s been breached, you have to notify everyone in that database. That took off and very soon such a law was in 48 states around the country and now it’s international.

The contemporary development is the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) out of Europe. That is a huge piece of regulation that is driving many billions of dollars of investment in compliance responses and updates within organizations to respond to it.

How can INTA members best prepare for the GDPR?

The first thing is they need to understand who is responsible for GDPR inside their organization. Under the GDPR, there is a requirement that many, if not most, organizations must have a data protection officer (DPO). It doesn’t matter if you’re in the United States or the EU; if you have any customers at all in Europe, you have to have a DPO under certain criteria. Our assessment is that the market will require 75,000 DPOs around the world. So find out who yours is and start a conversation. Ask them directly, how does GDPR implementation affect my area? How should I be thinking about this with regard to trademarks and brands? Where do we have risk? That will be a two-way conversation. The DPO will need to have a dialogue with the INTA member about where they are holding data, whether they’re doing web-based monitoring for inappropriate mark usage, for instance, and what tools they are using.

The second most important thing to do is get smart. Yes, rely on the DPO, but you should also be smart about issue spotting. Not everybody has to be a privacy professional or expert, but everyone who’s touching data needs to have enough knowledge in their head so they know when to ask a question or when something doesn’t quite look right. INTA members need those issue-spotting capabilities.

What is most important for INTA members to know about privacy issues generally?

One is that privacy is not just a compliance function, it’s an organizational function. No matter where you sit in the organization, if you are touching data, you are a risk vector for privacy and you need to understand the issues in order to effectively do your job in the digital economy. So, for a start, I would say that INTA members need to be aware of where their job intersects with data and privacy concerns and make sure they have enough training and awareness to address those appropriately. They should be able to solve some of them on their own, but they also should know when they should be calling up the Chief Privacy Officer or someone else to say, “Hey, I’m not sure what to do with this.”

Secondly, privacy is very intimately connected with “the brand” and reputation of an organization. If you don’t get privacy right, it’s absolutely true that customer engagement with your brand will decrease. While INTA members are protecting brands from IP incursions and inappropriate uses, they should also be paying attention to the fact that the organization’s brand value is tied up in the trust that people have with that brand, and privacy is very much related to that.

Do you think organizations are getting better at recognizing these issues?

I think the answer is that it depends. Clearly, we see some organizations where institutionally they are invested in these issues and paying attention and doing it quite well. But we also know that there are probably a majority of organizations that have yet to stretch privacy out of the legal or compliance departments and become something holistic that the entire organization pays attention to.

INTA-IAPP Collaboration

INTA’s Data Protection Committee and IAPP are collaborating to educate INTA members on the new GDPR. On Saturday, May 19, during an Annual Meeting session titled “Privacy’s Goodwill Implications,”
Sam Pfeifle of IAPP; Jennifer Garone (Microsoft, USA); and Ray Thomas, Jr. (Law Office of Ray Thomas, Jr. PLLC, USA), Vice Chair of INTA’s Data Protection Committee, will discuss ways to protect the goodwill of brands from privacy missteps. INTA’s Data Protection and Internet Committees are conducting various activities to help members prepare for the implementation of GDPR. Examples include:

  • Article in the April 1 INTA Bulletin and webinar on April 25 describing the impact of GDPR on ICANN’s registrant directory services known as “Whois.
  • Webinar on May 7 to discuss GDPR more broadly and to provide guidance on how members can work with privacy professionals to ensure that brand value is preserved.
  • Development of a Data Protection Topic portal.
  • Advocacy with data protection authorities and others to ensure that consumer protection and IP rights are factored into decisions regarding interpretation of the GDPR.
  • Educating other IP associations of the importance of GDPR to IP issues. Continued publication of timely articles related to data protection and its implications for brand value, enforcement, and the domain name system.

What are your predictions for the next five to ten years in the area of privacy?

This issue is not done. Privacy has only begun to emerge as a major societal and individual issue. As a result, organizations that are not paying attention today will be punished in the future. We have only begun to see the intersection of a data-driven economy with society, and there will continue to be flashpoints and places where we find that there are harms, both societally and individually, that we’re not willing to accept. It’s absolutely imperative that organizations pay attention to the risks now so they’re in a much better position in the future to respond to them and to build services, products, solutions, and tools that avoid problems out of the gate. Like brands, they need to have privacy baked into their products and services instead of bolted on after there’s been a problem.

How do you do that when technology is evolving so quickly?

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