Community News

How I Maximize My INTA Membership: Jessica Le Gros

Published: January 20, 2021

Jessica LeGros

Jessica Le Gros, Baker McKenzie, London, UK

Jessica Le Gros is a partner at Baker McKenzie in London, co-lead of Baker McKenzie’s brand management practice. Recognized as a Global Leader: Private Practice by World Trademark Review and IP Star: Trademarks by Managing IP, she is a member of INTA’s Leadership Development Committee, Leadership Programming Subcommittee.

Ms. Le Gros spoke with the INTA Bulletin about how maximizing her INTA membership has helped her in diverse ways professionally with networking, knowledge, and advocacy.

How has being an INTA member helped you in your professional career?
My first INTA Annual Meeting was in Berlin in 2008. Before that, I knew about INTA and people who were going, but not really what the Annual Meeting was all about. The opportunity to meet with clients, and others who had a passion for trademarks, was invaluable for me. The mix of business meetings, learnings, and social connections and fun has helped me enormously to build my network, and it’s a network I’ve relied on for mentoring, friendship, and help a lot over the years.

It seems to me that trademark lawyers are generally curious and interested in the world, focused as we are on how consumers perceive brands. INTA makes it easy to create and maintain connections with people all over the world. My practice is focused on global trademark portfolios, and so knowing and having personal contact with practitioners in most countries makes it easier to get the job done. I have called in many favors and met many tight deadlines because of relationships formed through INTA. I’ve also learned a lot from those same people about the countries they practice in. That has definitely enriched my life and made me a better brand lawyer.

Apart from attending the Annual Meeting, how does Baker McKenzie maximize its membership throughout the year?
We participate in INTA in many ways, and I know a lot of our team are interested in the knowledge sharing that INTA membership provides. We also have 12 people working on committees, which provides great insight into key issues for trademark practice. Given the size of our practice, with over 400 professionals specializing in IP, not everyone has the chance to go to the Annual Meeting, so engaging with the content that INTA provides, the educational opportunities, and the committee work is very valuable for us.

Can you share an example of a challenge intellectual property (IP) professionals and brand owners are facing, and how INTA is helping address that challenge?
I am very engaged with WIPO [the World Intellectual Property Organization] in relation to improving the Madrid System for International Registrations. This System promises a lot for brand owners and should be an efficient and cost-effective route to global trademark registrations. However, the System needs to keep pace with a globalized branding environment and be accessible and user friendly if it is to live up to that promise. INTA is also deeply involved, along with other nongovernmental organizations, in advocating for and implementing change in the System, and I very much appreciate INTA’s thoughtful and knowledgeable interventions in this diplomatic work.

In sum, why should brand owners and IP law firms join the Association?
If brands are important to you, then I think membership in INTA should also be important to you. I’ve been particularly impressed with how INTA handled the unexpected move to a virtual Annual Meeting [in 2020], and really invested in technology to support this. Although we would all, I’m sure, have liked to have seen each other in person, this excellent virtual meeting made participation in the Annual Meeting more accessible to more people, including those who for reasons of cost, difficulties with travel, or distance, would not otherwise have been able to attend. I think this is a great sign for the future, as INTA has always been a welcoming organization, but becoming even more diverse will benefit all members.

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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