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INTA opinion: Why we are not losing focus with patent remit


CEO Etienne Sanz de Acedo responds to a Managing IP opinion piece on the organisation’s increased focus on patents

In a recent opinion piece, senior reporter Max Walters wrote that INTA’s decision to target patent lawyers is intriguing but that the organisation should also decide what it wants to be.

My thanks to Managing IP for meeting with me recently to discuss the 2023 INTA Annual Meeting. We saw the recent opinion piece on some matters raised in the interview and we are, of course, more than happy to offer clarity.

The article focuses on one aspect of our conversation: why INTA is broadening its educational programme for the 2023 Annual Meeting to cover patents. This decision is in line with what our members are experiencing in their daily jobs. Increasingly so, they are working with not only trademarks but complementary rights. Their mandate is expanding, and they are expected to understand and participate in the business of the brand. No doubt, the role of trademark professionals has been evolving for some time and this is why we now refer to trademark practitioners as “brand professionals.”

Naturally, we want to provide our members with an educational programme that reflects this trend and helps them progress in their roles and advance in their careers. As your article notes, “we are constantly told that IP operates in a silo and that there is a disconnect between legal and business departments.” One of our goals is to break down these silos and raise the profile of IP among the c-suite, thereby also raising the profile of our members within their organisations. The Singapore Annual Meeting educational programme has two tracks: one on IP/legal – which covers the “traditional” IP topics that are still at the core of what we do – and one on the business of innovation, which takes a holistic view of brands and IP, including patents, which – of course – exist to protect innovation.

Finally, this should not be seen as INTA somehow losing its focus. As a mission-driven IP organisation, we are laser focused. Everything we do is undertaken in accordance with our carefully crafted strategic plan and corresponding implementation plan. And, as a member-driven association, our members are at the heart of everything we do. Our substantive (and geographic) expansion – and, indeed, our evolution – is helping us better serve the evolving needs of our members globally. INTA is an evolving organisation, but that does not mean we have lost our focus. In fact, the opposite is true.

We look forward to welcoming the global IP community, including patent professionals, to Singapore next May for the 2023 Annual Meeting and to engaging in productive and meaningful conversations around IP and brands and other areas of common interest.

 We hope this brings sufficient clarity on this matter.

 Etienne Sanz de Acedo is CEO of INTA, based in New York.

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