Trademark Administrators Committee Mentoring Program: Exchanging Knowledge

Published: January 6, 2021

The INTA Mentoring Program is a program that comes with membership at INTA, enriching the role of experienced trademark professionals while helping mentees gain knowledge, skills, and networking opportunities as they grow in their careers.

The Trademark Administrators (TMA) Committee has led the Association’s efforts in creating a TMA Mentoring Program. The Association informally launched the global initiative as a pilot project during the 2018–2019 committee term as a win-win for both parties in this professional mentorship relationship. There have been about 15 pairings in the ongoing pilot project so far. Matches are made after candidates complete a questionnaire.

For experienced practitioners, being a mentor provides the rewarding experience of sharing their knowledge and passion for trademarks by encouraging and inspiring other TMAs to grow in their careers.

For mentees, they gain a direct line of communication to a more experienced trademark professional for advice, tips, and guidance on career development. Other benefits include increased knowledge, acquisition of new skills, and opportunities to build one’s professional network. The program also serves to increase the overall confidence of newer TMAs within the INTA community.

A Win-Win Experience

A former mentor, Lisa M. Locke (Rothwell, Figg, Ernst & Manbeck, USA), noted that intellectual property work is complex and takes years of experience, often with minimal mentorship, for support staff or administrators to learn the rules, procedures, and anomalies.

“The INTA Mentoring Program is a constructive and supportive place for questions and real-time examples for those who are new to the trademark world,” Ms. Locke said. “As a former mentor, I found the professional setting and interaction through the program successful and beneficial for both parties.”

Dorothy Agoglia (Medronic, USA), said that she “jumped at the chance” to become a mentor. With more than 20 years of experience as a trademark administrator, she said, “I still recall the early days of my career where I was lucky enough to have an informal mentor, the person who previously managed my portfolios, just a phone call away. Being able to ask, ‘Have you ever encountered this situation?’ or ‘What would you recommend?’ without fear of judgment was incredibly comforting to someone new to trademark prosecution.”

Ms. Agoglia added: “Wanting to pay it forward, I signed up for the mentorship program and hoped that I could become that trusted and encouraging resource to make someone else’s early career much easier and rewarding.”

A mentee, José Antonio Arochi (Arochi & Lindner, Mexico), said that being part of the mentoring program gave him another view of how the Association works on a day-to-day basis. “My mentor showed me a lot on how I had to prepare for each [INTA] Annual Meeting and how things are done. This has helped me a lot in my day-to-day practice,” he said.

“Sometimes I see that people arrive at their first Annual Meeting and have no way of knowing what they should do. Maybe you put together one, two, three meetings in one day, and more is not the merrier at the Meeting,” Mr. Arochi continued. “I believe you have to be strategic and have good meetings everyday but not be swamped. These insights were given by my mentor, and I really thank him for this. The insights have given me better conference experiences and more work.”

Mentors and mentees also enjoy forming a new professional relationship and connection that can last beyond the program itself.

Interested in Participating?

If you would like to be either a mentor or mentee in the TMA Mentoring Program, please contact [email protected] and note your name, location, and whether you are interested in being a mentor or mentee.

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. 

© 2021 International Trademark Association