INTA’s 2021 Annual Meeting Will Feature Five Educational Tracks

Published: June 16, 2021

INTA’s 2021 Annual Meeting Virtual+ is taking shape, and an exciting part of this year’s event will be the educational program’s five themed tracks over five days on the virtual platform. Let’s take a look!

The innovative hybrid event, which will take place November 15‒19, will feature five days of virtual education and Business Development opportunities plus onsite one-day events in four cities around the world.

On the virtual platform, the educational programming will consist of one track that focuses on a specific theme each day. Registrants can learn in real time and/or watch the sessions on demand until February 16, 2022.

The four days of in-person gatherings—November 15 in Hong Kong SAR, China; November 16 in New York, New York, USA; November 17 in Berlin, Germany; and November 18 in Los Angeles, California, USA—will include keynote and panel presentations, discussion forums, and other educational components along similar themes as the virtual learning opportunities. The onsite events will also feature plenty of in-person networking opportunities, including an exclusive members-only reception at the end of each of the four days. It will be just like attending a mini-conference! Those attending the onsite events can watch the educational sessions they might have missed that day on the virtual platform on demand at their convenience.

The five tracks are: Building a Better Society Through Brands, the Business of Brands, Enforcement and Anticounterfeiting, Innovation and the Future of IP, and Regional Updates.

Building a Better Society Through Brands (Monday, November 15)

Description: A brand represents more than a product or service; more and more, consumer choice is based not only on the quality of the offering but also on what a consumer believes is important—whether that’s social or political values, how a brand owner conducts its business in the marketplace, or how it treats its employees. Consumers want to know how a product is made, and what the brand owner did in and for our communities; and how it impacts the environment. Trustworthiness, transparency, sustainability, diversity, equity, and inclusion are among the core values that today’s consumers expect from the brands that they support.

As part of their brand strategy and counseling, brand legal practitioners need to address these brand issues in changing times―from how what a brand says and does affects consumer trust, to diversity, equity, and inclusion, and the importance and benefit of doing good in society. And these issues are important not just because of consumer demand. For example, research shows that being diverse and inclusive leads to more innovative products and services, long-term employee retention, and higher financial performance. Diversity and inclusion should be reflected in all aspects of an organization, including its legal team.

Commenting on the timeliness of this theme, Track Leader Debra Hughes (Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, USA) said: “Building brand equity with consumers requires more than having a quality product or service. Consumers are also looking for brands that have voices that resonate with their core values, such as trustworthiness, transparent and sustainable practices, and a demonstrable commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.

“Therefore,” she continued, “agile brand legal practitioners should understand how these values impact the success of global brands, the organizations they support and partner with, and the communities served by brands, including their own employees.”

The Business of Brands (Tuesday, November 16)

Description: Brands don’t exist in a vacuum. There is an ecosystem that creates, markets, and sells products and services. The marketplace includes all types of businesses, from entrepreneurial to established, so it’s incumbent on brand legal practitioners to understand the needs and challenges faced by all businesses, large or small, new or established.

Brand legal practitioners must address many issues, from protection and enforcement of intellectual property (IP) rights to commercialization of brands (for example, licensing, brand valuation and evaluation, M&A, bankruptcies, trademarks as a source of capital, and IP and taxation), effective use across traditional and nontraditional media, rights of publicity, copyrights, design rights, and regulatory issues (for example, brand restrictions, data privacy and protection, industry-specific regulations, and advertising claims), among others. Importantly, all legal practitioners must remain relevant and be resilient in changing times.

Legal knowledge isn’t the only skill you need to be successful as a brand legal practitioner. Learning your client’s business so you can be a trusted advisor is paramount. Being an effective manager, developing and marketing your practice, and enhancing your communication abilities are all necessary skill sets to support legal and business teams and advance your career.

According to Track Leader Tali Alban (Uber Technologies, Inc., USA), sessions around this theme will help practitioners expand their “issue-spotting toolkit to better support the business of brands and provide timely updates in legal areas adjacent to trademarks.”

“The best legal advisors, whether outside or in-house, understand their clients’ business and provide well-rounded, business-savvy advice. This is true for today’s brand legal practitioners as well,” she said.

“As brands are so much more than their trademarks, so must brand legal practitioners today stretch beyond traditional practice. They must learn to not only spot red flags in other areas such as advertising, data privacy or regulatory, but also to identify business risks such as the potential for negative PR associated with any brand campaign.”

Enforcement and Anticounterfeiting (Wednesday, November 17)

Description: Enforcement of brand rights is critical for all brands, including combating the ever-growing challenges posed by counterfeiting. In addition, as more and more consumers buy online, brand owners face new and different challenges to stem the tide of infringement and counterfeiting. Harmonization, simplification, accessibility of enforcement systems, the role of the judiciary, and the challenges in cross-border enforcement are some of the many issues that brand legal practitioners need to need to master to ensure brand protection and integrity.

Track Leader Cornelia Schmitt (Grunecker, Germany) noted what registrants can expect: “We are living in a world with an increasing threat of online brand infringement and new challenges due to the shift to digitalization and e-commerce. We will offer a variety of interviews and discussions where brand owners will share their success stories of how they are using technology and consumer awareness to combat counterfeiting, and how they have been maximizing enforcement efforts with limited funds in a demanding enforcement environment.”

Innovation and the Future of IP (Thursday, November 18)

Description: The last two years have seen tremendous changes across the world as we had to adapt to a global pandemic and a proliferation of new technologies. Brands need to quickly adapt to the changing marketplace and new technologies, including how they market and sell their products and services to their customers. These changes influence every aspect of our lives—the way we work, play, and interact with each other—and have had a profound effect on consumer expectations and norms.

Innovation plays a significant role in the legal issues faced by practitioners today and being nimble amid the changes that innovation brings is a must. Understanding new technologies and how they impact businesses and legal teams is now de rigueur in brand legal practice. In addition, anticipating the future state of the marketplace and the role of IP—and, consequently, the roles of IP practitioners (both at law firms and in-house) and IP Offices—is crucial for the continued growth of protection and enforcement systems across the globe and the continued relevance of IP practitioners.

On innovation and the future of IP, Track Leader Monique Cheng Joe (NBCUniversal Media, USA) said: “Change is the only constant for us and being nimble amidst change is a must. Technology tends to be ahead of the law.”

“As such,” she added, “brand legal teams must stay one step ahead as technological advancements can profoundly impact their work. Innovation is key to the success of a business, and practitioners must be well-positioned to provide the right IP counseling and leadership to their respective clients.”

Regional Updates (Friday, November 19)

Description: Understanding the differences in marketplaces, trademark and complementary IP laws, and issues facing brand owners in different regions is fundamental so that all practitioners can be effective counselors to their business clients. Brand owners may take pride in their “global” brands, but practitioners know that the protection systems vary nationally or regionally. Understanding the differences in the marketplaces—and the state of the law and practice in each marketplace—is critical for the continued success of brand practitioners.

Offering insight into the Regional Updates, Track Leader Shwetasree Majumder (Fidus Law Chambers, India) said: “As always, we will bring to you our ever-popular case law roundups for the U.S. and Europe. Equally, in the new year we bring you a brand-new look at the rest of the world. We will audit a range of new laws from various regions that impact the IP ecosystem and predict what legislative and policy changes brand owners should expect going forward.”

In addition, she said, “We will also bring you a candid fireside chat with women leaders from the INTA community who have broken the proverbial glass ceiling in jurisdictions where their leadership is the exception, not the norm.”

At all of the tracks, registrants can expect content-rich sessions with a diverse array of speakers from various regions, including many brand owners. There will be something for everyone—no matter the professional’s focus or level of expertise. INTA will be applying for CLE credits for educational programming.

The 2021 Annual Meeting Project Team Co-Chairs Diane Lau (Facebook, Inc, USA) and Lorenzo Litta (BrandIT, Switzerland) encourage registrants to leverage the exceptional programming and innovative learning formats to “design their own learning experience.”

“Diane and I have asked the track leaders and the Project Team to be bold and ambitious in their approach for the Annual Meeting Virtual+,” said Mr. Litta. “They have exceeded our expectations in every way, and we are so proud of them!”

The virtual educational programming builds on the success of the live and on-demand format at the 2020 Annual Meeting & Leadership Meeting, which was INTA’s first fully virtual event. In a post-event survey, nearly 90 percent of respondents that attended the sessions rated the education program good or excellent.

In addition to the educational sessions, the 2021 Annual Meeting Virtual+ will include Table Topics, workshops, Idea Exchanges, Business Development opportunities, committee meetings, the INTA Café, the INTAconnect matchmaking and scheduling tool, receptions, and more.

Member registration opens July 14. Non-member registration begins August 16. Attendees must register for the virtual Meeting in order to register, at an additional fee, for one or more of the in-person events.  The in-person events are first-come, first-served and have limited capacity in each city.

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