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Volunteer Spotlight: Peter McAleese

Published: November 4, 2020

Chehrazade Chemcham Colgate-Palmolive Company Europe SARL Therwil, Switzerland INTA Bulletins—Europe Subcommittee

Peter McAleese headshot

Peter McAleese, Akran Intellectual Property, Rome, Italy

Peter McAleese, a partner at Akran Intellectual Property in Rome, Italy, entered the intellectual property field by accident more than 15 years ago and has never looked back.

Originally from Ireland, he started his career in the telecommunications industry, leading him to work in various European cities.

How did an Irishman end up practicing law in Italy? Several reasons led him to Italy in 2000, including the culture, food, weather, and, most importantly, “amore” for his Italian wife.

In Italy, he fell into trademark law after the company he was working for went into liquidation, and he was forced to stop, take stock, and decide where to go next.

Mr. McAleese has been an active INTA volunteer for many years. He currently co-chairs the European Global Advisory Council and is a member of the Right of Publicity Committee and the 2021 Europe Conference Project Team. Most recently, he served as the chair of the INTA Bulletins Committee during the 2018–2019 term.

When asked about a favorite INTA project, he immediately mentioned his work on the 2019 Europe Conference: Embracing Change. Specifically, he praised the subject matter, the project team, and the choice of Paris as the host city; and he particularly enjoyed seeing the Conference come to life from conception to live event.

He also enjoyed participating in Unreal Campaign presentations for young consumers with several other Italian members. He fondly remembers the high school students’ interest in the topic of counterfeiting and how savvy they were in recognizing real from fake products.

In speaking about the most important issues facing trademark owners today, Mr. McAleese said a key challenge lay in how to “make global feel local.” He noted that in today’s marketplace, where consumers are empowered and can be hostile, it is challenging for global companies to make their products feel local when they are in fact global brands present in many markets.

Asked about an area INTA should focus on in the future, he suggested physical and mental health. The Association could dedicate resources and provide support services to trademark lawyers, especially given the constant and growing professional pressures they are currently experiencing, he said.

In terms of his daily routine, Mr. McAleese noted that he has had to make adjustments due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While previously he was able to focus primarily on a variety of trademark work from cosmetics to aerospace, he has since added home schooling and IT support to his resume. When he is not working on his professional and home duties, he loves running and listening to music, everything from opera to hip-hop.

Reflecting Mr. McAleese’s country of origin, some of his favorite trademarks include the Irish stout GUINNESS, and the Irish rock group U2, because it is both a trademark and his favorite band—and the first trademark matter he worked on. Another favorite is BLACKBERRY, the trademark he uses to explain distinctiveness.

Finally, when asked what INTA means to him, he said it is an “incredible network of like-minded people.” He loves that the Association makes him feel like he has friends all over the world and that he can call on so many members for local advice, both professionally and personally.

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. 

© 2020 International Trademark Association