INTA past, present and the future
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INTA past, present and the future

At yesterday’s Opening Ceremony, outgoing Executive Director Alan Drewsen said goodbye, while President Toe Su Aung highlighted INTA’s achievements and laid out plans to continue INTA’s push to strengthen its international presence and to tackle Internet infringement

One of these achievements was the large number of countries acceding to the Madrid Protocol in the past year, with Colombia, India and Mexico joining the fold. Not only did INTA play a major role in working with these jurisdictions in implementing the Protocol, these successes have drawn interest from other countries as well.

“All this activity has fueled regional interest in the Madrid Protocol, and we are now working with Brazil, Costa Rica and the Dominican Republic as they take steps that could lead to their own accession,” she said.

Aung also discussed INTA’s growing focus on emerging economies. She pointed to the ‘Africa Rising’ initiative as well as INTA’s strengthening relationship with African regional organizations as important progress in advancing trademark rights there. She also expressed optimism about the organization’s work in Myanmar as it sets out to draft its first trademark law.

In addition, Aung spoke of the need to expand INTA’s work to protect trademark rights online. She cited the public opposition to ACTA, SOPA, and PIPA as evidence of continuing public misconceptions about the relationship between IP protection and Internet freedom.

“We must explain the benefits of protecting trademarks online, so that the public can be confident and informed Internet users,” she said. Despite these challenges, there have been successes in this realm, such as the work with ICANN on improving trademark protections for the new gTLDs being rolled out.

A goodbye of sorts

The Opening Ceremony also featured a speech from Alan Drewsen, INTA’s outgoing Executive Director. Drewsen took the opportunity to thank the many individuals that he worked with during his 15-year tenure. Drewsen was proud of INTA’s growth and achievements under his watch but also expressed humility and gratitude for the contribution of his colleagues.

“I leave with the feeling that I have done a good job for you, but with the profounder emotion that for so many reasons it is all of you that I have to thank.” Though Drewsen is stepping down, you may see him again at INTA Annual Meetings. On Saturday, the Board of Directors passed a resolution granting him honorary membership.

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