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David Warr explains INTA’s work in Washington

Turn right out of the Convention Center, walk five blocks down M Street, take a right on to Connecticut Avenue and walk up as far as the statue of Doctor John Witherspoon. Congratulations: you've just arrived at INTA's latest office location


While the Association has long been active in Washington DC thanks to its Political Action Committee, and has had consultants for many years, the opening of the office—INTA's fourth worldwide—signalled a greater engagement with lobbying and government relations. It coincided with the hiring of David Warr as Washington Representative. He is joined in the office by staff member Michelle King, who liaises with the USPTO, while consultant Jon Kent continues to advise on government relations. The office also provides a base for INTA staff visiting Washington DC from New York.

"INTA wanted to be able to have a permanent staff as well as just a consultant," says Warr, who joined INTA from Bristol-Myers Squibb in

February 2011. He adds that he spends much of his time on the phone talking to government officials and Congressional staff members, as well as going to social and networking events in the city. The office is close to Dupont Circle and just 15 minutes walk from the White House. "You have to be able to build relationships individually agency-by-agency," says Warr.

Many trade associations are based in Washington DC, but INTA has been headquartered in New York since its foundation in 1878. It now has offices in Brussels and Shanghai, and the new Washington presence makes it easier for the Association to have regular contact with members of Congress as well as organizations such as the Department of Commerce, the Department of State, the Federal Trade Commission, the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) and of course the USPTO. Warr has connections with many of these agencies from his time at BMS, where he was Director, International Government Affairs and Policy. "We have an open door to the USTR, and we're developing a relationship with the FTC," he says.

The increased engagement is necessary at a time when legislative action affecting trademark owners is increasing, with discussions on anticounterfeiting bills, gTLD expansion and USPTO funding just some of the examples of topical issues. Warr emphasizes the need for relevant associations to build coalitions where they agree on policies, and try to build broad support. He says one of the lessons of the recent failure of the SOPA and PIPA bills is that antipiracy efforts need to be "rebranded". He adds: "We need to emphasize that it's about consumer protection and safety if we want to win wider support."

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