2021 Looks Bright For The Trademark Industry

Gökçen Uzer Çengelci,

After months of planning and a big shift to a new status as a virtual conference, INTA’s 2020 events began with its yearly Leadership Meeting on Friday, November 13th. The Annual Meeting section then officially opened on Monday, November 16th, with CEO Etienne Sanz de Acedo stating during his welcome speech that 2021 looks “bright” for the industry.

Sanz de Acedo also highlighted some of INTA’s achievements in 2020 so far, which have taken place despite the ongoing impact of COVID-19. To date, INTA has organized more than 200 meetings and virtual delegations, in addition to developing a new benchmarking study for in-house practitioners. This week, INTA will also publish three new think tank reports focused on the future of the IP office, in-house, and law firm environments.

In case you missed the event, in this article I have outlined my 4 key takeaways for the IP industry in 2020 and beyond:

  • Well-rounded discussion
  • Branding strategies
  • Diversity
  • Women in IP

1. Topical and thought-provoking discussion

According to the keynote speech, our industry continues to experience the “unusual type of business” it has been subject to since the start of the year. As a result, sessions and discussions at INTA this year covered a wider range of material than ever. There was discussion around customary issues such as counterfeiting — as heard during Monday’s Fake Stores: The Growing Trend in Counterfeiting and How to Combat It moderated by Erika Yawger, Apple Inc. (USA) — but there were also a wealth of panels covering wider ground.

Possibly in response to the pandemic, there was also an overview of best practices in crisis management by an international panel of speakers, including Eric Fingerhut, Dykema Gossett PLLC (USA), Michael Graham, Expedia Group, Inc. (USA), Leyla Harper-Dominique, eProint (Haiti), and Jon Parker, Gowling WLG (UAE). This all occurred during the “Brands in Crisis Workshop, which was hosted by the Trademark Administrators Committee on Friday.

2. Strategies for the entire lifecycle of brands

Supporting the product life cycle and being able to manage the lifecycle of an IP portfolio have become important goals for many attorneys — something which is also a reflection of the “better business mindset” trend that dominated at INTA AM in 2019. In that sense, many of the discussions in 2020 were geared towards IP attorneys and how they can also become business solution providers for every cycle of the brand.  

This year the sustainability of good branding was also discussed at length, as well as prompt branding reactions to social movements. Friday’s “Brand Authenticity: Reacting to Social Movements Quickly and Appropriatelywas moderated by James Weinberger, Fross Zelnick Lehrman & Zissu, P.C. (USA), with speakers Colette Durst, 3M (USA), Heather McDonald, BakerHostetler (USA), and Yuliana Salamanca, Baker & McKenzie S.A.S. (Colombia).

3. Diversity

INTA continues to draw attention to the value of diverse workforces. Tuesday’s capsule keynote on “Diversity & Inclusion presented by Trisch Smith, Edelman (USA), suggested that a universal demand for systemic change can clearly be seen in every industry, including our own.

Raising awareness of the importance of diversity is crucially important for the IP industry as the very nature of intellectual property — creating consumer perceptions and branding responses — affects the ways we think. So, encouraging firms to think more about diversity both in their working environments, and also in their branding strategies, would definitely make the world a better place!

If you are interested in learning more about this topic, I am currently reading the article “Diversity in Intellectual Property”, edited by Irene Calboli and Srividhya Ragavan. The article reflects how intellectual property norms could be effectively used to protect and promote diversity and creates an interface between intellectual property and cultural, biological, religious, racial, and gender-based diversity. [1]

4. Women in IP

Like last year's session “Women in Commercial Legal Practice”, this years’ Tuesday session, “The Women’s LeadershIP Initiative Workshop―Advancing Women’s Leadership”, is worth mentioning here. The low number of women in senior positions, and possible solutions to this situation, was discussed in the workshop.

I attended the session last year and this time it was exciting to see that the workshop not only brought women in IP together, but this year men also participated and showed a real interest in the event. It was a really great workshop, facilitated by Debbie Epstein Henry, Consultant, Best Selling Author, and Public Speaker (USA), that brought women and men to the table to discuss the reality of the IP industry’s perspective on this issue.

Thank you

Needless to say, we will all remember this year in many different ways! We were delighted to see so many of our clients and friends at the Corsearch booth in the Platinum Exhibitor Area during the event.

Please don’t forget that you can still connect with us at INTA 2020 until November 30th (or indeed at any time) — the booth, exhibition hall, and INTAconnect will remain open until then!


[1] https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/92de/c86406d3b61dc8470ff97a2d564ae72910f4.pdf

*This is an informational opinion article of Gökcen Uzer Cengelci of TrademarkNow, a Corsearch company. The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent official policy or positions of Corsearch or its clients.