|Etienne Sanz de
Acedo: new man at INTA
Etienne Sanz de Acedo's
appointment as the new INTA chief executive was announced
earlier this month. He succeeds Alan Drewsen, who has led the
association for 15 years and retires in July. We've picked out
three long-term trends for Sanz de Acedo to think about as he
prepares to take on his new role:
1 Globalisation. It's 20 years since USTA became INTA, and
the Association now has a diverse membership, a multinational
Board and meetings held worldwide. It recently launched an
initiative targeting Africa and held a
policy tour in Asia. But to be truly representative of
brand owners, INTA needs more corporate members in Asia and
Latin America and even greater diversity in its leadership.
Appointing a non-American chief executive is a welcome move in
2 Participation. INTA membership and Annual Meeting
attendance continues to grow, but corporate legal budgets are
also under greater pressure, and in-house counsel face more
demands on their time. INTA needs to ensure that in-house
counsel participate at all levels of the association, and that
it continues to represent them, even on those issues (such as
the Madrid Protocol) where they may be at odds with private
3 Communication. It might seem surprising to say that
communicating the value of trade marks could be the biggest
challenge. Some might dismiss the protests and vote against
ACTA in the European Parliament last year as little local
problems. But concerns among the public at large about IP
rights are genuine and growing. This week, the Pirate Party
won three parliamentary seats in Iceland.
If you doubt that trade marks are affected by the IP
Cory Doctorow's blog in yesterday's Guardian newspaper:
"It's time we stopped giving trademark bullies a free pass to
tell us what our own words mean - it's time to take them back."
Once such arguments get picked up by politicians and
protesters, legislation to restrict trade mark rights might not
be far off. Look at how quickly
plain packaging of tobacco products has become a reality in
Australia (with other countries likely to follow).
still at his desk until July
Some IP owners and practitioners prefer to dismiss such
arguments as based on "misunderstanding" or "ignorance". But
they need to treat them with respect and take them on.
Otherwise, the critics will have run the race before the
defenders are even off the starting blocks. Congratulations to
Dan Ballard for commenting on Doctorow's piece; it would be
good to see more responses from trade mark practitioners.
Associations have a vital role to play here.
Sanz de Acedo brings many years of working in trade marks,
is well connected with IP offices globally and also has the
ability to be charming in five languages. We've worked with him
for a number of years in his capacity as head of communications
at OHIM and he's always been approachable and practical. I
fully expect that he will be a visionary leader for INTA and
wish him well.
In the interests of full disclosure, I should remind readers
that we publish the INTA
Daily News during the Annual Meeting (in other words, we
have a commercial relationship with INTA). Both Drewsen and
Sanz de Acedo will be interviewed in next week's newspapers,
which will be available in Dallas and online. Whatever we
think, it's what they say about the challenges ahead that