Time or action: how IP firms can help support people in crisis
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Time or action: how IP firms can help support people in crisis

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Steven Cooper, partner at Ware Fressola Maguire & Barber, explains what sponsoring Brand Action means for his firm and why the IP community is well-placed to help

The calendar has turned to May, so commences the annual descent of the global trademark community upon an unsuspecting city (it’s your turn, Atlanta!) for the INTA Annual Meeting.

Thousands of IP professionals will be convening to share and enhance their knowledge of intellectual property across jurisdictions, reconnect with old friends, make new friends, and expand their professional networks.

As an attorney at a small law firm, my involvement with the international IP community has been transformative and enriching. I have made friends from all corners of the world, traveled to new places, and been exposed to many different cultures and worldviews. 

This community which exudes professionalism, collegiality, and friendship, has become one of the most joyous parts of my job, and I believe is unique to the practice of trademark and IP law. Many legal professions don’t provide the opportunity for such global interaction and knowledge sharing.

For years I have felt grateful and wondered how I could better give back to this vibrant community.

In March of 2022, my call was answered.

Five volunteers: Taras Kulbaba, Alexis Winslow, Bri Van Til, Phil Cox, and Jackie Stelling, came together from different parts of the profession to form Brand Action.

Brand Action’s mission is to encourage the trademark and IP community, with all its amazing international spirit, to support people globally in their times of crisis. 

Through various fundraising efforts, the organisation has contributed more than $150,000 in donations to charities providing vital food and medical relief to civilians suffering from the ongoing crisis and war in Ukraine. It has also supported those suffering from natural disasters in Mexico, Turkey, and Syria.

Firm belief

Shortly after it got up and running, Brand Action asked me if our firm would sponsor a reception they were hoping to hold during INTA's 2022 Annual Meeting in Washington DC to raise money for people in Ukraine following the invasion.

In what I consider one of my wiser choices as a law firm partner, I immediately said yes and haven’t looked back.

Our firm will be returning as a sponsor for the third (of what is now an annual) Brand Action fundraising reception, in Atlanta on May 20. 

While sponsoring Brand Action has helped spread awareness of our firm, that’s not why we do it. It is about telling our industry colleagues and the world that while there are many seemingly intractable crises around the globe, as a trademark community we are positioned to help in a meaningful way.

We demonstrate our determination to support people in need, and encourage others to follow us.

Through their ingenuity and commitment, the founders of Brand Action have created an opportunity for all of us in the trademark community to amplify our efforts. 

Securing sponsors is a critical part of Brand Action’s strategy for success, and with more than 50 companies already pledging their support, this year Brand Action is going to hit some incredible goals.

Sponsorships cover the costs of the event. This will allow Brand Action to donate 100% of ticket and merchandise sales to World Central Kitchen and its food relief efforts.

Sponsorships also fund a second charitable cause. Donations this year will be directed to BE for Ukraine, a Belgian charity providing fully equipped ambulances for use in Ukraine.

Brand Action has raised enough to provide one ambulance, and is close to securing a second, with just a little more help. That help could come from you.

So as we all put the finishing touches on our conference plans and look forward to many lunches, dinners, cocktail parties, and receptions on our schedules, I would encourage you to ask yourself: can I do more in my capacity as an IP professional to better aid the international community that means so much to me?

If the answer is yes, then Brand Action would love to have your help and support.

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