Treasurer’s Report 2019

Published: December 15, 2019

As I end my term as Treasurer, I am pleased to report that our Association is in sound financial standing. The 2019 budget, adopted by the Board of Directors last November, projected a net loss (total revenue minus total expenses) of US $1.0 million. We expect to end the year better than budget by approximately US $0.5 million.

We maintained an overall 85 percent membership retention rate in 2019, added 950 new members, and now have 7,000 members around the world. Our primary source of revenue continues to be our Annual Meeting, which consistently accounts for more than 50 percent of our gross revenue. When we prepared the 2019 budget, we assumed that attendance in Boston would be approximately 10,900 and I am pleased to report that we exceeded that threshold and hosted close to 11,400 trademark professionals in May. As a result of the membership dues and Annual Meeting results primarily, the Association’s gross revenue for 2019 is forecasted to be approximately US $23.1 million, which is US $0.2 million more than the original budget.

2019 marks the second year of the 2018-2021 Strategic Plan. In implementing that Strategic Plan, the CEO and his management team developed a detailed roadmap to promote the value of trademarks and brands, reinforce consumer trust, and embrace innovation and change. I believe the team has had a successful start to accomplishing these goals.

Conferences and meetings in 2019 will generate revenue of US $2.5 million. We held an Embracing Change Conference in Paris, a Business of Brands Conference in New York, we took TMAP outside the US to Berlin, Germany, had a new location for the Asia-Pacific Conference (Kuala Lumpur), and we will be hosting the Leadership Meeting here in Austin, Texas. We have led delegations to India, Canada, Latin America, Africa, Middle East, China, and other Asian jurisdictions in 2019. We continue to convey an important set of messages to our members, prospective members, and government agencies around the globe of our commitment to education, advocacy, and public policy in all regions. U.S.-based events continued to draw strong interest, as evidenced by the number of attendees at the Business of Brands Conference in New York and the upcoming Leadership Meeting, where we are hosting more than 1,500 volunteers.

Our Association’s staff continued to demonstrate their ability to manage operating expenses during 2019. Total expense for the Association forecasted to be US $23.7 million, will be lower than the original budget by 1 percent and US $0.2 million.

The New York office has successfully relocated just one block from the prior location at 655 3rd Avenue to 675 3rd Avenue. The relocation project has been ongoing for more than two years and was recently completed with the move occurring in the middle of October. Timing and costs for the project were as expected and within budget. Operations were uninterrupted during the relocation and the staff has now settled into their new home.

The discovery phase of the digital transformation project was completed in August of this year. The Project Team continues to work with the existing vendor as the design and development phase kicked off in September.

As of September 30, the Reserve Fund balance was US $25.0 million, US $0.3 million more than when we met at this meeting one year ago. During 2019, the Finance Committee has been diligently monitoring and reviewing performance with our investment advisors at JPMorgan. Although global markets are volatile and there are many factors impacting investment returns, we believe the portfolio is appropriately diversified and the expectation is that the portfolio will continue to move with the relevant market indices and marginally gain value in the near term.

The 2020 budget will be presented to the Board of Directors today. Membership retention is budgeted to be slightly better than 2019 and consistent with prior year trends. For conservative budgeting purposes, we are projecting Annual Meeting attendance in Singapore to be 10.5K, and 0.9K less than Boston. In addition to the unique programming that will be provided in April, we have an ambitious offering of meetings and other programs scheduled around the globe throughout 2020, including programs in Madrid, Mexico City, and New York. Revenue from our other meetings, conferences, and programs next year is expected to generate US $3.0 million.

We continue to invest in the Association with regard to our legal resources, and public policy and advocacy. INTA’s representative offices’ staff now total 12, with estimated expense of approximately $2.7 million. Staff in Europe, Latin America, China and Asia-Pacific continue their advocacy, membership development, and communications. Our Washington, D.C., office will continue to enhance our presence and effectiveness in Washington, with the support of staff supplemented by expert lobbying and consulting support. We continue to be well served by our consultant in Delhi. Underlying all of these activities is the dedication to grow our membership base globally, and consistently enhance our member benefits.

2020 will prove to be a very exciting time and an important year for INTA as we continue with our Digital Transformation project which will result in a new INTA website and the enhancement of related custom applications used by our members. As Treasurer, it has been an honor to work with the officers, committee members, the general membership, the staff-especially the staff-and the Chief Executive Officer, and I am confident in the continuing progress and growth of our Association.

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.

© 2019 International Trademark Association