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Survey: The truth about conferences

Ever wondered if your peers attend events in the same way that you do? Ahead of the INTA Annual Meeting in Barcelona, IP STARS conducted an online survey. Michael Loney reports

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We received 142 responses from 34 different countries to the IP STARS survey on conference-attending habits. The US accounted for 37.1% of answers, followed by the UK, with 15.0%, and France, with 6.4%.

When asked how many IP conferences they personally attend in a typical year, 68.1% said one to three, 25.5% said four to six, 5% said seven to 10, and a hardy 1.4% said more than 10. We asked respondents which specific conferences they attend. The INTA Annual Meeting was the clear favorite, with 90.1% of respondents attending it. Other popular meetings were the INTA Leadership Meeting (41.5%), AIPLA Annual Meeting (13.4%), AIPPI Congress (13.4%), PTMG Annual Conference (12.7%), ECTA Annual Conference (12.0%), MARQUES Annual Conference (12.0%), APAA Annual Conference (9.9%) and FICPI Congress (6.3%).

Respondents were asked what their primary goal was if attending the INTA Annual Meeting in Barcelona. It seems catching up with old friends is the priority – the overwhelming favorite answer, with 75.0%, was to meet existing clients/contacts. Make new clients/contacts was second with 16.4%, learn about latest trademark developments got 4.3%, and “other” got 4.3% (this included answers such as “it is a dual purpose meeting old and new clients/contacts”).

INTA survey Tues

Likelihood of conclusions

We also asked respondents to tell us how likely they were to do 12 specific activities on a scale of “not likely”, “somewhat likely” or “very likely”. Having one-to-one meetings with existing clients/contacts is the most likely activity, with 95.2% of respondents saying this was very likely, 0.8% saying somewhat likely and 4.0% saying it is not likely.

Having one-to-one meetings with potential clients was also a popular activity, with 81.5% of respondents saying it was very likely, 8.9% saying it was somewhat likely and 9.7% saying it was not likely.

Food and drink also feature prominently in trademark practitioners’ plans. Attending receptions/parties hosted by firms/companies was very likely for 87.3% of respondents, somewhat likely for 7.1% and not likely for 5.6%. Similarly, having group meetings/lunches was very likely for 72.4%, somewhat likely for 20.3% and not likely for 7.3%.

Attending actual INTA activities is less popular, however. When asked how likely they were to attend INTA educational session, 23.4% said very likely, 28.2% said somewhat likely and 48.4% said not likely. Attending table topic sessions was very likely for just 16.9%, somewhat likely for 26.3% and not likely for 56.8%.

Attending INTA social events was very likely for 47.6%, somewhat likely for 32.3% and not likely for 20.2%. Attending committee meetings was very likely for 51.2%, somewhat likely for 14.0% and not likely for 34.7%. Visiting the exhibition hall was deemed very likely by 46.3% of respondents, somewhat likely by 36.6% and not likely by 17.1%.

Non-INTA training and sessions do not appear to be much of a pull. Only 5.9% of respondents said they were very likely to attend non-INTA training/sessions (for example, run by IP offices or exhibitors), 27.7% said somewhat likely and 66.4% said not likely.

Trademark professional’s priority claims

We quizzed respondents on the importance of the INTA Annual Meeting for six criteria. Talking to existing clients/contacts was deemed very important by 82.5% of respondents, quite important by 12.4% and not important by 5.1%.

INTA survey Tues 2

Making new clients/contacts was very important for 68.1%, quite important for 26.5% and not important for 5.1%. Meeting with their own colleagues from other offices was very important for 31.6%, quite important for 22.1% and not important for 46.3%.

Using the INTA Annual Meeting for leaning about trademark developments in the respondents’ county/region was very important for 22.2%, quite important for 33.3% and not important for 44.4%. Interestingly, learning about trademark developments in other countries/regions was deemed more important. Some 24.3% of respondents said this was very important, 49.3% said quite important and 26.5% said it was not important.

We also asked respondents how a number of factors affect their views of an IP advisor/firm. It seems the more personalized, the better. An invitation to attend a private dinner was viewed very favorably by 51.1%, somewhat favorably by 28.1% and deemed to have no effect by 20.1%. Likewise, an invitation to schedule a one-on-one meeting was viewed favorably by 47.8% and somewhat favorably by 36.2%.

Other methods were deemed less likely to succeed. An invitation to attend a reception was viewed very favorably by 21.7% and somewhat favorably by 46.4%. An invitation to a meeting in a hotel suite was viewed very favorably by 18.1% and somewhat favorably by 36.2%. An impromptu meeting in or near the conference venue or hotel was viewed very favorably by 17.4% and somewhat ­favorably by 58.7%.

We also asked respondents whether they had ever done a number of actions as a result of attending a reception/meeting at INTA or other IP conferences. Some 55.8% of respondents said they has given new instruction to an existing IP advisor/firm, 54.4% said they had given instruction to a new advisor/firm, 40.1% said they had given additional (unplanned) work to an existing advisor/.firm, 36.7% said they had changed the IP advisor/firm used in a particular jurisdiction, 29.9% said they had renegotiated terms or fees with an existing IP advisor/firm and 19.7% said they had conducted a review of their legal panel for IP work. 

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