Pulling Back the Curtain on the 2022 Annual Meeting Live+

Published: March 9, 2022

Sergio Barragan

Sergio Barragan (PepsiCo, Inc., Mexico)

With less than two months to go until the 2022 Annual Meeting Live+, more than 4,500 registrants are no doubt filling their schedules with education sessions, Business Development activities, meetings with external counsel and clients, and some sightseeing and social events.

Also busy putting the final touches on the program are Annual Meeting Project Team Co-Chairs Sergio Barragan (PepsiCo, Inc., Mexico) and Stacey Watson (Markery Law, USA).

Stacey Watson

Stacey Watson (Markery Law, USA)

Based in Mexico City, Mexico, Mr. Barragan is Senior Legal Director and Trademark Counsel for Latin America at PepsiCo, Inc. He is currently serving on INTA’s Board of Directors and as chair of the Brand Restrictions Committee.

Welcoming Annual Meeting registrants to her home city, Ms. Watson is Co-founder and Principal at Markery Law LLC, based in Washington, D.C. An INTA volunteer for more than two decades, she currently serving on the Saul Lefkowitz Moot Court Competition Project Team.

Here, Mr. Barragan and Ms. Watson reflect on the tremendous work that has gone into organizing the event, offer insider tips, and share their excitement ahead of INTA’s first in-person Annual Meeting in three years.

What does it mean to you to be hosting INTA’s first fully in-person Annual Meeting in three years?
Sergio Barragan: It’s a privilege, but, at the same time, an enormous commitment to host such an important and large event in times of such uncertainty, where we must navigate change from one day to the next. No doubt, it is a big challenge to organize an event of such magnitude in just a few months, but we are so lucky to work with a world-class and highly committed Project Team and INTA staff. We are very happy with the results so far and we are sure that this event will be a milestone in our Association’s history.

Stacey Watson: I agree with Sergio; it’s a privilege to be asked to host the event. I was especially thrilled that INTA asked someone from a small women-owned law firm, such as my own. It has been a great experience to work both with Sergio and the always-amazing INTA staff, as well as the Project Team members, many of whom I did not know personally before we began working together. We also have made a concerted effort to engage with new and diverse speakers. We are looking forward to providing a very high-quality event to those who are able to attend in-person as well as those who are attending virtually.

The educational program features seven programming tracks. What, in your view, are critical challenges and opportunities facing brand professionals today that this thematic program addresses?
SW: The seven tracks provide a great framework within which the track leaders and their team members have developed at least five educational sessions per track. While brainstorming with the Project Team, we agreed that new and emerging technologies, such as NFTs [non-fungible tokens], blockchain, and the metaverse, should not only be a major part of the educational program but be featured across the programming tracks and take advantage of each track’s different perspective. We want to ensure that registrants walk away with valuable takeaways in each session and a more comprehensive view of the topics. We are also excited for the Professional Development track. It’s a new programming track for the Annual Meeting and will provide a slightly different way for registrants to learn insights and best practices on various topics.


The programming addresses a key challenge for brand professionals today: developing a holistic view of brand-related issues. —Sergio Barragan

SB: We are super excited about all of the programming tracks. This will provide the opportunity to better understand these trending topics. The programming addresses a key challenge for brand professionals today: developing a holistic view of brand-related issues, rather than a narrow focus on trademarks, and it really speaks strongly to how brands do business today as well as the future of the IP [intellectual property] industry. At the same time, we will have the opportunity to see how the Association and its membership have been advancing in terms of DEI [diversity, equity, and inclusion], ESG [environmental, social, and governance], and The Women’s LeadershIP Initiative. Equally, the educational program continues our focus on brand value, including ISO brand valuation, evaluation standards, and the commercialization of brands.

We are also excited to be supported by INTA committees for additional in-person programming on Saturday and Sunday. And, for our virtual registrants, we have planned 20+ educational sessions across three days, including six sessions which we will live stream from Washington, D.C.

INTA published three Think Tank reports in 2020, looking at the future of IP offices, in-house IP teams, and law firms, respectively. A common theme throughout these reports is the need to innovate and embrace change. How does the educational program feed into this thinking?
SB: Most of the sessions on the tracks actually have a connection to the future of IP. In fact, one of the seven tracks is specifically called Innovation and the Future of IP! In this and the other tracks, we will have sessions that talk to counterfeiting in the digital world, as well as other sessions covering blockchain, cryptocurrencies, NFTs, and the metaverse, for example, and the role of IP in these emerging technologies. Cybersecurity and how to leverage legal technology to support business in this new digital world will also be discussed. So, as you can see, the sessions are fully aligned with the key findings of these different Think Tank reports. Also, each and every one of the sessions aligns with INTA’s 2022-2025 Strategic Plan and its three strategic directions.

SW: We are very pleased with the educational programming because each of the tracks includes sessions that touch on new issues for IP and brands, but from different perspectives. So, not only does the Future of IP track talk about new and emerging issues in IP, but the Business of Brands Track has sessions on modern and innovative licensing and brand valuation, and the Building a Better Society Through Brands track has sessions on DEI and sustainability. In alignment with the Think Tank reports, we also have Professional Development sessions on billing practices and utilizing all members of an IP team to their full potential.


We are very pleased with the educational programming because each of the tracks includes sessions that touch on new issues for IP and brands, but from different perspectives. —Stacey Watson

In 2020, INTA hosted a fully virtual Annual Meeting, and last year we held a Virtual+ Meeting—a virtual event with small in-person conferences in select locations. What were some of the most valuable lessons from those events and over the past two years of the pandemic that the Project Team has taken forward into preparing for the 2022 Annual Meeting Live+?
SB: We have learned a lot during these last two years and throughout the entire pandemic. Without exception, each and every one of us has learned to do things differently, and the result can often be more effective and engaging. Through the virtual components of the past two Annual Meetings, we’ve discovered new ways to connect and network and to continue our professional development and knowledge. We have realized that there are no barriers to advance our individual and collective development and, above all, that we can achieve optimal networking and maintain our connections with our business associates and within the global IP community.

The Project Team has considered all of these lessons, and we are preparing an amazing in-person Meeting complemented with the equally important interactive virtual programming. The virtual programming will be available not only to those attending virtually, but tor all registrants who would like to enjoy the on-demand content once the Meeting has concluded.

SW: Technologies that support virtual engagement have improved at an incredible rate during the past two years—and INTA took full advantage of it in 2020 and 2021. It allows those who are unable to attend an in-person meeting to interact and participate at virtual sessions aired during their time zones, and gives them the ability to ask questions in real-time. We have been really impressed with INTA’s technological partners and the innovative ways they are able to facilitate the best possible program both for in-person and virtual registrants.

From your perspective working at a law firm and as in-house counsel, respectively, how do you prepare for and get the most out of the global IP community’s largest gathering of the year?
SW: There is nothing like the absence of an in-person event to remind you of how vital this Meeting is to your practice. I am looking forward to being able to meet with our international and domestic colleagues and to introduce them to the new members of our team. This will occur not only at the INTA-sponsored networking events, but also during the informal lunches and impromptu coffees. For those attending for the first time, I strongly suggest that you give yourself some break time in between meetings. I have a tendency to schedule meetings back-to-back and that sometimes does not allow for a more spontaneous coffee with someone you have just met. Indeed, I have met some of the most amazing people at the Annual Meeting, through both planned and unplanned meetings.


[W]e will have sessions that talk to counterfeiting in the digital world, as well as other sessions covering blockchain, cryptocurrencies, NFTs, and the metaverse, for example, and the role of IP in these emerging technologies. —Sergio Barragan

Of course, for some of the best tips for the first-time attendees, make sure not to miss the Annual Meeting Registrant First-Time Orientation and Reception on Saturday, April 30. Table Topics are another great way to connect with peers to discuss important topics and showcase your knowledge on a topic and learn more about a new topic. This year, we are featuring 100+ Table Topics at the in-person Meeting and additional sessions virtually. Business Development excursions are also a great way to network in a more relaxed way.

SB: The Annual Meeting is crucial for in-house teams. It’s an essential event for my team every year, whether it is in person or virtual. Nothing will replace in-person interaction and networking, but we have learned a lot in the last two years in the virtual world. INTA’s Annual Meeting gives us the opportunity not only to get together with friends and colleagues, but also to continue our professional development and learnings about new IP trends around the world. This Meeting allows us to connect with our colleagues, associates, peers, and other in-house teams around the world from the same and different industries, all during one event and in one place. It allows us to strengthen our relationship with our associates and gives us the opportunity to meet new people and firms that can bring new opportunities and services to companies. It also provides an opportunity to sometimes connect with other colleagues and to solve possible conflicts in a more friendly and expeditious manner. As part of a global company, we also have the opportunity to connect globally in a more efficient and cost-effective way. In-house practitioners also have dedicated workshop offerings, including the Anticounterfeiting Workshop and the In-House Practitioners Workshop. Registration for these types of workshops opened on March 7, so secure your spot quickly!

Ms. Watson, what are your top three insider tips for visitors to Washington, D.C.?
The D.C. restaurant scene has really taken off in recent years. There are loads of new restaurants as well as some really pretty spots for outdoor eating and gathering, such as The District Wharf and, of course, Georgetown, which is a bit further away. At the least, try a new restaurant or coffee shop outside of the Convention Center.

If you do go “off campus” and further afield, give yourself sufficient time if traveling by car; traffic can be tough during the week and, with the pandemic, I have noticed fewer taxis and Uber/Lyft drivers. The D.C. Metro is a good alternative for getting around the city.

This is a beautiful time of year to be in Washington, D.C. If your schedule allows, take some time to explore the city. We have some amazing museums like The Smithsonian, a complex of museums which have no admission fees, and The U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. Finally, the National Mall is always a great place to take a walk and enjoy the spring weather and many amazing monuments to American history.


We have been really impressed with INTA’s technological partners and the innovative ways they are able to facilitate the best possible program both for in-person and virtual registrants. —Stacey Watson

Mr. Barragan, what are you most looking forward to during your stay in the U.S. capital?
I look forward to meeting friends, associates, and colleagues who, for many reasons, we haven’t had the chance to connect with in person in a long time. We will discuss pending matters and, at the same time, have the chance to connect, interact, and foster new relationships, and build our networks.

Above all, I hope that everyone enjoys the expansive educational program and myriad Business Development activities that the Project Team and INTA staff have prepared for us. I hope this event will remain fondly in our memories for many years to come.

What will you be thinking about when you walk out on the stage at the Opening Ceremonies to welcome registrants to the Annual Meeting?
SW: I am excited to host INTA’s first Annual Meeting Live+. The Project Team and INTA staff have worked incredibly hard to provide the best educational and networking event for our community in the safest way possible. At the same time, we also want to reflect upon not only all those who have been lost in the global pandemic, but how grateful we are to be able to continue this tradition and gather with friends and colleagues—either in person or virtually. This will be top of mind as I walk out on the stage.

SB: I agree, I think there will be mixed feelings, not only for us on the stage but for everyone in the audience. On the one hand, it will be a moment of great reflection and gratitude to have the opportunity to see friends and colleagues again after a couple of years in which many of us have lost someone during this tragic pandemic. So, it will be a moment in which we would like to honor and remember those colleagues that we lost in these years. On the other hand, it will be a feeling of satisfaction that the Project Team and INTA staff achieved such a grand undertaking in creating an amazing and high-quality program in such a short period.

Learn more and register for the 2022 Annual Meeting Live+.

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