5 Trademark Industry Trends to Watch in 2020

Gökçen Uzer Çengelci / Charles Hill,

In the IP industry trends are important for a company's success and sustainability, as they are in all industries. IP law directly serves trade and the existence of intellectual property rights is directly related to the business activities of companies. In that sense, the IP industry is also affected by trade or political conflicts, economic growth, or indeed by any kind of development or trend which creates barriers to trade for stakeholders.

INTA leadership committee

The International Trademark Association (INTA) is one of the biggest policy-makers and networking organizations in the global IP Industry. Its mission is to: “Foster consumer trust, economic growth and innovation”. Amongst the many IP issues discussed and debated during the recent INTA event, 5 key trends were highlighted for the IP industry in 2020.

Trademark Counsel, Gokcen Uzer Cengelci and Head of Product, Charles Hill at TrademarkNow have been called to serve in 2020/2021 on INTA committees. Uzer Cengelci is serving on the INTA Publication Committee. Hill is a member of the INTA Brands and Innovation Committee.

TrademarkNow INTA committee members
Gokcen Uzer Cengelci and Charles Hill, TrademarkNow at INTA Leadership in November 2019 in Austin, TEXAS

Our INTA committee members share their takeaways on trademark industry trends to watch in 2020 with you here.

5 trademark industry trends for 2020

  • AI and legal technology
  • Open communication
  • Getting a better business mindset
  • Corporate social responsibility and climate change action
  • Opportunities and challenges in trade

1. AI and legal technology

Needless to say, AI is once again this year the ‘star of the show’ and is currently the hottest topic in the IP Industry. Many IP colleagues plan to deploy AI solutions or have already implemented an AI solution at work (even in multiple areas of their businesses). Some are even utilizing more than one such tool at the same time in order to uncover comparable trademark results. In spite of the fact that ‘the law’ is universally accepted to be one of the most conservative industries, leaders and seniors are still fully aware that AI is the ‘new black’ and they need to be proactive and take action. This transformation is needed not only to drive competitiveness, but also to foster the creation of innovative ways of working and real solutions for trademark professionals.

For many years, the IP Industry struggled to reach, analyze and present the necessary data with a business mindset. Legal opinions based on this data did not usually fit with the incessant demand for rapid strategies. Often pre-disputes were just as expensive as disputes and so most of their clients bore risk and moved on with brand candidates without doing worldwide clearance searches. However that was all pre TrademarkNow! Today attorneys can see the opportunity that AI gives them in enabling them to act promptly - and to behave like a business partner to their clients. They are no longer seen ‘just a lawyer’ who is not a stakeholder and is considered to be ‘outside the strategy’! And, we see that official organizations (like WIPO) are also embracing AI when eliminating the risks before the application processes.

2. Open communication

Great communication creates great businesses and successful communication needs an understanding which is more than the knowledge of the law itself! Be it online or offline, formal communication or informal communication through blogs, the IP Industry is well aware of the power of communication - including the power of emotional intelligence. We had the pleasure of listening to INTA Influencers within this scope when we also attended a Managerial Leadership Executive Workshop hosted by Texas A&M University in November of last year.

3. Getting a better business mindset

The take-home message of this trend towards open communication is that attorneys no longer want to be ‘that person’ who is described as being ‘where all good ideas go to die’ when they speak with the parties! The demand to act rapidly in global trade matters and the need for prompt strategies in trade make a business mindset even more crucial. So lawyers are not happy to be referred to as’ just’ an advisor or representative (an independent source of law) but want to be seen also as a business solution provider to their clients with an interdependency skillset.

4. Corporate social responsibility and climate change action

Either with its Unreal Campaign or with its Pro Bono clearinghouse INTA has a continuous approach in supporting and being at the vanguard of social responsibility policies in the IP industry. This trend will continue and in the future, we will see these kinds of events not only run by associations but also by individual players like law firms. These kinds of social responsibility policies also serve as a unique opportunity to educate both clients and future consumers and will have a big impact on the IP World.

A happy by-product of our AI platform is the significant reduction in the amount of paper-based research for businesses. Reports can be customized, downloaded and shared online amongst teams. INTA is also mindful of climate change issues. Last year, for the very first time, INTA abandoned plastic badges and used environmentally friendly eco badges at their Leadership event in November 2019!

5. Opportunities and challenges in trade

In addition to the above-mentioned inter-disciplinary issues, other IP law related opportunities will become more apparent in 2020, such as new regulations and trends - like those relating to the cannabis industry, or the recent practice of non-traditional trademarks.

In addition, trade challenges such as Free-Trade Zones, online counterfeiting and Brexit will also feature highly this year. As we all already accept, there can never be a dream world without bad faith trademark applications and counterfeits. INTA’s agenda is full of policy ideas to fight these kinds of behavior with strong regulations also designed to further prevent any IP damages due to political or trade-related challenges.

Final thoughts

TrademarkNow’s mission is to transform the working lives of professionals in the intellectual property domain by letting them focus on what is important for their business: their legal opinion. It is encouraging that IP experts are now seeing AI tools as an opportunity to be more creative and innovative. This is demonstrated today by the general behavior of industry experts who are delegating clearance and monitoring tasks to IP tools. Together with the interdisciplinary way of dealing with law related matters, a more business-like mindset will transform the IP Industry significantly in the near future, which will have a positive impact on trade overall.

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Book a meeting with us at INTA 2020 and get the latest news on our new features and enhancements - designed by our team of trademark attorneys and data scientists - to do the heavy lifting for you so that you can work smarter.

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