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INTA Leadership Meeting heads to Panama

Panama City will host this year’s INTA Leadership Meeting in November, as the Association holds a major event in Latin America for the first time.

Panama was chosen as the destination for INTA’s Leadership Meeting partly due to the enlargement of the Panama Canal, which will greatly increase shipping. Susan L. Crane, group vice president, legal at Wyndham Worldwide and one of the Leadership Meeting co-chairs, told the INTA Daily News: “The expansion of the Canal will more than double the traffic and will also enable two ships to go through simultaneously.” The number of containers passing through the canal is going to grow from 300 million [PCUMS (Panama Canal Universal Measurement System) tons] to 600 million [PCUMS tons], and many of those goods may be counterfeit. The potential for growth in goods being shipped—both genuine and counterfeit—means it is of vital concern to trademark owners.

All major Latin American IP offices are expected to attend, as well as represenatives from Panamanian government and Latin American Supreme Courts. Crane added that for the first time at a Leadership Meeting, there will be concurrent sessions with one track focusing on educational programming and the other on policy matters.

Other speakers invited include representatives of shipping firms, who will be able to address questions about the growth of the Canal, while discussions are also underway to invite a high-profile sports star to talk.

Gerardo Munoz de Cote Amescua, IP legal director of Televisa in Mexico, is the other co-chair of the Leadership Meeting. He told the INTA Daily News the decision to go to Panama shows “the interest and importance of the region” for INTA, adding: “The Latin America community has been very engaged in INTA for many years, and this decision is a recognition of that.”

In another change this year, the Meeting will start on Tuesday and finish on Friday, meaning registrants can head home for the weekend—or spend some time getting to know the region. The co-chairs visited the City earlier this year, and say it has a lot to recommend it. Munoz de Cote Amescua highlights the mix of races and cultures, biodiversity and striking architecture, while Crane notes the accessibility and familiarity for visitors from overseas, adding: “If you have time, I would encourage people to go out to the Canal Zone, which is really interesting to see.”

INTA’s 2015 President, J. Scott Evans, added: “I think Panama is an exciting place, and I think the expansion of the Panama Canal makes it politically, geographically and ­legally relevant to the issues we face with counterfeiting and free trade zones, so it’s an important time for us to be there.”

The INTA Leadership Meeting takes place from November 17 to 20 and is open to all INTA volunteers. Registration will open later this year.

See you in Orlando in 2016!

INTA will return to Orlando, Florida next year for the 138th Annual Meeting. While it does not take place for more than a year (it runs from May 21 to May 25 2016), planning is already well underway.

The Meeting co-chairs, Peter Dernbach of Winkler & Partners in Taiwan and Rick McMurtry of Time Warner, started work last summer and are holding a meeting with their Project Team this week at which more details of the educational and social program will be discussed.

While it’s too soon to reveal full details of what’s planned, Dernbach said one focus will be to have more diverse sessions, including speakers from government, academia and non-legal roles, to bring new perspectives. “We are looking at having content that will be interesting, informative and useful and to incorporate input from some of the Presidential Task Forces.”

He added: “Orlando is very convenient, especially for those travelling internationally, as there are many direct flights. There are also many reasonably priced rooms.”

McMurtry, who co-chaired the INTA Leadership Meeting in Orlando in 2012, said that this might enable some companies and firms to send more staff than usual: “It will be a very affordable meeting, so I for one may be able to send more junior people than I would normally. We anticipate it will be one of the largest Annual Meetings ever.”

Registration for next year’s Annual Meeting will open at the beginning of 2016.

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