Annual Meeting First-Timers Await Educational Offerings, Connections

Published: October 13, 2021

While many brand professionals loyally attend INTA’s Annual Meeting year after year, each Annual Meeting also brings a new class of first-time registrants. Following this pattern, a significant number of Association members and other stakeholders from around the world will be introduced to the world’s premier intellectual property (IP) event in 2021.

At the 2021 Annual Meeting Virtual+, newcomers will account for 8.3 percent of the more than 2,400 registrants so far—just below the 9.7 percent of all registrants who participated in 2020. The hybrid event will take place November 15 to 19, and registration is open until October 29.

The roster of first-timers includes those at every level of their careers, from students to professors to experienced IP practitioners. Some are attending solo, and others are joining colleagues as part of a team from the same organization.

Ioane Iarajuli

Ioane Iarajuli (Georgia)

For Ioane Iarajuli of Georgia, attending the Annual Meeting in November—both the virtual sessions and possibly the one-day in-person mini-conference in Berlin on November 17—marks “the perfect timing for me.” As a master’s degree student in business and tax law who recently started a new job in the IP field, he said, “My purpose is to make new contacts, obtain as much information as possible from sessions, and collect huge experience that will be helpful for my career.”

Vera Sevastianov

Vera Sevastianov, Hanken School of Economics (Finland)

Similarly, another student, Vera Sevastianova, a doctoral student at the Hanken School of Economics (Finland), registered for the Annual Meeting this year because of her professional timeline. Just having started a doctoral program in trademark law, she believes learning about the latest trends in the trademark field will be beneficial down the road.

“To do successful research I need to understand in what direction the legal practice is developing and what is currently being discussed among legal and marketing professionals,” she said.


Pilar-Montero, University of Alicante (Spain)

Also from academia, Pilar Montero has always wanted to attend an Annual Meeting, but professional commitments had always prevented her from doing so. However, Professor Montero, Director of the Master on Intellectual Property and Digital Innovation, Magister Lvcentinvs, at the University of Alicante (Spain), will be at the 2021 Annual Meeting Virtual+.

“This year I decided to [attend], taking into account the incredible adaptation of INTA to the new scenario after the COVID situation. For those reasons, I decided to maximize my INTA membership,” she explained.

Also with regard to the pandemic, Professor Montero is particularly interested in attending sessions that will help her “understand the concrete IP needs and challenges faced by the different companies after this COVID situation.” As well, she is excited about “having the opportunity to interact with speakers and attendees about hot IP topics.”

Marco López Volio

Marco López Volio, Zurcher Lawyers (Costa Rica)

Marco López Volio, partner in IP at Zurcher Lawyers, Costa Rica, has uniquely gained the ability to attend the Annual Meeting as a result of climbing the ladder. He explained that he did not attend previously, mainly because the director of the firm’s IP department had that opportunity.

However, Mr. Volio recently became the director of the firm’s IP department—and he jumped at the chance to attend, noting, “I wish to be involved in INTA’s activities for networking, education, and professional growth.”

This year, the educational agenda covers a wide range of critical topics, and there are more than 100 speakers, with about half of them coming from corporates. The virtual education programming has been organized into five topic tracks—one track per day:


Tuvshin Saikhan (Mongolia)

By attending educational sessions, Tuvshin Saikhan, a registered patent and trademark agent and a student in Mongolia, hopes to “compare points of view from different parts of the world, in regard to process optimization, blockchain technology, and modern management and methodologies that are used in addressing current and future issues in the IP landscape.”

To make the most of the Meeting, she said she will try to schedule her time “in the most effective way” in order to participate in as many presentations and Speed Networking sessions as possible.

Ms. Sevastianova is also viewing the program with a wide perspective, with special interest in several areas: first, how trademark law might be challenged in the age of new technologies, including artificial intelligence-based tools. In addition, she said, “I look forward to the sessions on leveraging the forces of brands to the benefit of our society. It would be great to learn more about real-life examples and practices. Since I am from Europe, it would also be useful to know about the latest developments in U.S. trademark law, to spread this knowledge in the European Union.”

Differently, Mr. Volio has expressed interest in the enforcement and anticounterfeiting track, “since it is important to keep up with the latest strategies, schemes, and preventive actions that are being discussed across other jurisdictions.”

Among other topics, the session (on November 17) entitled “The Holistic Brand Lawyer: Stretching Your Practice Beyond Trademarks” also has piqued his interest. “I’ve been advocating in my practice that it is essential to have an integral holistic approach in IP matters,” he said.

For Mr. Iarajuli, attending the Annual Meeting also goes beyond traditional learning to dynamic skills. “Alongside getting knowledge,” he explained, “it is important for me to see and assess visions and different approaches from my foreign colleagues that would help me in enhancing my self-confidence and [strengthening] my practical skills.”

How did these first-time registrants hear about the Annual Meeting? Mostly from the sources that traditionally draw registrants to INTA’s events, such as the Association’s marketing emails, publications, and social media posts, as well as word of mouth from colleagues and friends.

For example, Mr. Iarajuli learned about INTA and the 2021 Annual Meeting from colleagues during an internship at the National Intellectual Property Centre of Georgia (SAKPATENTI). And the Annual Meeting’s reputation as the go-to IP Meeting has significant meaning to Mr. Volio. He noted: “Due to my connection with IP in the past, I was already aware of the relevance of INTA’s events.”

Annual Meeting General Access registration is available until October 29. Learn more and register

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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