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INTA co-chairs: Make the most of the Annual Meeting

If this year’s Annual Meeting co-chairs could give first-time attendees only one piece of advice, it would be these two words: Pace yourself


If this year’s Annual Meeting co-chairs could give first-time attendees only one piece of advice, it would be these two words: Pace yourself.The sheer number of activities of the nearly week-long event can be overwhelming for those here for the first time. “You can very easily burn yourself out on the first day,” says co-chair Jordan Weinstein of Oblon Spivak McClelland Maier & Neustadt. “Always leave down time. Don’t schedule yourself until 2 a.m. every night or you’re going to work a very tired person.” Co-chair Belinda Berman of the United States Golf Association says it’s helpful to skim the Meeting Portal to pinpoint sessions of interest. The events go on all day and all night, but, she warns, “that doesn’t mean you should.”

Eighteen months in the making, the Annual Meeting is the result of INTA members and staff who took charge of various aspects of the planning process. The co-chairs promise this year’s sessions are different. “It’s not a rehash of what you’ve heard before,” Berman says. “We think and hope there’s something for everyone.” One session will address a topic at the meeting for the first time—Protection of Indigenous Rights: An Increased Need. “It’s going to be a really interesting topic that hasn’t gotten as much publicity and discussion,” Weinstein says. Phil Fontaine, former national chief of the Assembly of First Nations in Canada, is a speaker.

Given the concentration of lobbyists in the nation’s capital, a session that should be of particular interest is Doing the D.C. Shuffle: How Do The Trademark Attorney, Lobbying and Ethics Mix? Berman says it’s a topic for inside and outside counsel, whether or not they’re based in Washington. “It does have broad appeal to everyone because we’ve seen the passage of a number of different acts—the DMCA, the Federal Trademark Dilution Act, the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement,” she adds. “All of these things happened in Washington, but they affect people very broadly.”

Finally, make sure you leave time for networking. With members from around the world in attendance, the co-chairs say it’s the perfect opportunity to meet people. First-timers especially should take advantage of the 235 table topics planned. Table topics are moderated discussions of small groups on issues ranging from the use of trademarks in virtual reality to character and product merchandising post-Betty Boop and the Louboutin red sole. “You don’t have to be an expert in the area to attend,” Berman says. “You don’t have to be intimidated. You should be encouraged to go, sit, listen and ask questions. It really is a very nice intimate way to get to know people and learn new things.”

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