of the Managing IP team has been in Hong Kong this past week
for the 136th INTA Annual Meeting, where among other
things we have been publishing the INTA
Daily News and also launched our New IP STARS
It’s the first INTA Annual Meeting to be held
in Asia, and only the third to be held outside of North America
(after Amsterdam in 2003 and Berlin in 2008). But two decades
after USTA became INTA, the location reflects the
internationalisation of trade mark work, and in particular the
growth of China.
It’s a trend that will speed up. INTA is
running many other events in the region (see our
interview with its CEO Etienne Sanz de Acedo) and it
announced during this meeting that from now on every third year
the Annual Meeting will venture outside North America. It will
go to Vienna, Austria in 2017 and come back to Asia in 2020.
The city has not yet been announced, though Singapore, Tokyo
and possibly Shanghai are the obvious contenders.
Holding the Meeting here has meant that a few things are
different. The most obvious is that there are more attendees
from the Asia-Pacific region (2,748 out of 8,580) and fewer
from North America (1,890). But another trend that I know a few
people have picked up is the greater participation of
|INTA held a
reception for government officials yesterday
All of the TM5 offices have been represented here, and
indeed have hosted some important meetings. WIPO, OHIM and KIPO
are among those that have stands and OHIM and the JPO both
hosted users meetings on Sunday.
WIPO also ran its now well-established information sessions
Hague Systems, and this year it was striking that there
were representatives of the national offices of countries as
far afield as India, Mexico and Tunisia as well as the regional
African offices ARIPO and OAPI.
It’s not just IP offices. During the week there
was also an update from a group of IP attachés, while
organisations such as
Icann have been represented in the educational programme.
One of the more controversial sessions this week covered plain
packaging of tobacco products and the pending WTO case (Emma
Barraclough has more to say about this).
What should we make of this trend? I think partly it
reflects the location and the close ties that exist between
business and government in this part of the world, but
it’s also partly a longer-term trend that is
seeing greater regulatory interest in trade marks, something
that arguably patent and copyright owners have already
On one hand, businesses might be alarmed at that. Certainly
many brand owners are wary of advertising regulation such as
the plain packaging laws, and also of increased restrictions on
the internet post-Snowden.
On the other hand, a more positive view would be that
it’s good to see governments and industry engaging
at an event like this, and that trade mark specialists should
use the opportunity to raise their concerns, in particular
regarding counterfeiting and combating anti-IP sentiment (on
which point, see our
interview with INTA President Mei-lan Stark).
So overall, if we’re right about this trend, it
should be good news for trade mark owners, and one that we hope
will continue. Do you agree?