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How I Maximize My INTA Membership: George Chan

Published: June 2, 2021

George Chan

George Chan, Simmons & Simmons, China

George Chan (Simmons & Simmons, China) has truly benefited from his active participation in INTA. “You will gain as much as you put into your involvement with INTA,” he said.

For more than a decade, Mr. Chan has contributed to various committees, project teams, advisory councils, think tanks, and a presidential task force.

In an interview with the INTA Bulletin, Mr. Chan discusses why he views The Trademark Reporter® as one of the Association’s premier assets, how the Association is helping address the problem of trademark squatting, and why there is no better “friend of the court” to have than INTA.

How has being an INTA member helped you in your professional career?
I don’t think that the importance of INTA can be overstated. Aside from being the largest professional organization representing brand owners, INTA has helped to create access and opportunities for brand owners throughout the world.

Through INTA, I was provided with an unparalleled opportunity to expand my professional network. I have found the INTA Annual Meeting to be especially helpful; it really impresses in terms of the international and multicultural nature of the organization.

Unfortunately, INTA has had to cancel its in-person meetings for the past two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, giving credit where credit is due, INTA has continued to host a virtual Annual Meeting to ensure that we, as a group of international professionals, continue to have a meeting place each year.

Apart from attending the Annual Meeting, how does Simmons & Simmons maximize its membership throughout the year?
The Trademark Reporter®, published by INTA, is a great peer-reviewed journal that provides members with interesting articles on emerging issues in trademark law, recent developments in intellectual property (IP) law from other jurisdictions, and different perspectives on the commercial value of trademark rights.

We also encourage our junior associates to participate as often as they can in the services and programs that the Association has specifically tailored for young practitioners.

Aside from INTA’s regular offerings, Simmons & Simmons requested an amicus curia brief from INTA for a particular matter. When addressing a novel point of law relating to trademarks, I cannot think of any person or organization that would be better than INTA as a “friend of the court.”

Can you share an example of a challenge IP professionals and brand owners are facing, and how INTA is helping address that challenge?
If I had to single out one challenge for IP professionals and brand owners, trademark squatting is at the very top of the list.

The harm caused by trademark squatting is not limited to brand owners; it negatively affects national economies too. INTA is aware of this problem and created the Bad Faith Task Force in 2018 as part of INTA’s Enforcement Committee, which has published resolutions and surveys on this problem.

The Association adopted a resolution on the issue of bad-faith trademark applications [in November 2020], which included five recommendations. In China, four of the five recommendations were eventually adopted; however, the one resolution that has not yet been adopted in China, as a meaningful deterrent to bad-faith filings, requires that trademark squatters reimburse rights holders for legal expenses and related costs incurred in combating bad-faith filings. There is still a lot of work to do on this front.

In sum, why should brand owners and IP law firms join the Association?
I think this Association offers something for everyone, irrespective of your ambitions or desires. My feeling is that you will gain as much as you put into your involvement with INTA.

Although every effort has been made to verify the accuracy of this article, readers are urged to check independently on matters of specific concern or interest. 

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