We are working on a new format for the INTA Trademark Administrators Conference. I have contributed the following thoughts:
The Conference needs to fit in the general INTA pattern of adding value to its members by empowering them both professionally and as individuals. In addition it is desirable if this is achieved in an interactive, open and multidisciplinary way.
I am mindful that most of you insisted that the expected experience for the TMA Conference needs to be very much hands-on and practical. While recommending particular content, I have primarily in mind the idea of affirming and elevating the strength of this particular group of professionals and bringing it out for the greater benefit of the entire INTA membership. At the same time, I think it is necessary not only to give the Conference participants an opportunity to educate themselves, I believe it is desirable that they be put in the position to both educate each other and educate other INTA constituencies. Their active involvement in generating strong body of knowledge that can be shared across INTA should, in my view, generate a positive sense of empowerment among the participants.
One obvious field where Trademark Administrators might contribute significantly would be having them work with database makers and service providers in identifying issues and providing possibility for improvement of docketing and IP management software. Structuring databases and making them user friendly can certainly benefit from such a wealth of experience and insight as is the INTA TMA constituency. Therefore, interactive workshops might be offered where the experienced TMAs could interact with the software and service providers in improving their product, with both parties largely benefiting from the process. I am sure that you will be able to recommend particular actions within this framework better than I can do at this stage. As a matter of fact, many of the proposed topics actually do fit this particular mold already, such as the leadership skills building content as proposed.
In addition, I perceive a great strength in the basic TMA network in general. In principle, as some of you have pointed out, Trademark Administrators are often instrumental in recommending which counsel to hire in a given country. In that sense the TMA Network is the cream of the INTA’s Powerful People side and I think this needs to be affirmed stronger. My recommendation would be that this is made visible in both external marketing and the direct marketing to the participants through a set of sessions which might emphasize this aspect. Sessions that would do that would not remain only on the informal networking aspects, but would also contain elements of intercultural communication, business geography and practical aspects such as introducing the different holiday schedules and patterns over the world and similar practical aspects.
I support the idea that the Related rights, including the fashion law are included in the curriculum as most of the businesses nowadays are seeing “crossover IP” being born out of the thin air and the traditional IP boundaries no longer hold. It is important in my view that these insights are share on all levels.