The International Trademark Association is the perfect example of adaptability and flexibility
One year after the pandemic’s global outbreak, the Association has managed to shift its events’ model to digital, including the 2020 Annual Meeting – at whose core lies not only education, but also networking and socializing.
INTA’s Europe Conference this year, “What’s Next for Brands” was held entirely virtually, on the 23rd and 24th of March. Technology, artificial intelligence, blockchain and their interdependence with trademark law and practices, were among the topics discussed at the Conference, with a wide range of presentations, panel discussions and workshops.
At the event’s opening, INTA’s CEO Etienne Sanz de Acedo, discussed the main developments that shaped the year 2020 and affected the brands, including Black Lives Matter, #metoo and, of course, the Covid-19 pandemic
At the event’s opening, INTA’s CEO Etienne Sanz de Acedo, discussed the main developments that shaped the year 2020 and affected the brands, including Black Lives Matter, #metoo and, of course, the Covid-19 pandemic. According to Mr. Sanz de Acedo, the above developments’ impact on consumers took the form of:
- A 160% increase in e-commerce
- Brands going virtual
- Consumers returning to value and essentials
- Enhancement of CSR, diversity and inclusion initiatives
- Growing importance of trust and sustainability
The Conference’s first session, Innovation and the Trademark Team: Who’s in the Driver’s Seat? Part 1: Artificial Intelligence, moderated by Brian McElligott, Partner, Mason Hayes & Curran, with representatives from Gowling WLG, Novartis Pharma AG, the EUIPO and BrandIT GmbH, addressed the digital transformation and innovation that have become and integral part of lawyers’ daily operations and focused on the use of AI tools and systems that are currently shaping the market.
Miguel Ortega, Head of New Technologies Service and Programme Manager of the Digital Evolution Programme, European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) (Spain), analysed the EUIPO artificial intelligence roadmap and the use of AI tools in the form of image processing and recognition, virtual assistants, document analysis and comparison of goods and services.
Caroline Perriard, Co-Chief Executive Officer, BrandIT GmbH (Switzerland), focused on AI & online brand protection, explaining how more data is translated into more intelligence, how anticipation is key to any anti-counterfeiting strategy and the importance of technology (including image analysis, logo and optical content recognition) in the identification of counterfeiting clusters.
The use of technology was at the heart of the Conference’s second session, Innovation and the Trademark Team: Who’s in the Driver’s Seat? Part 2: Blockchain and Complementary Technologies, which examined how blockchain and complementary technologies can be used in the context of IP protection strategies.
Olivia Dhordain, Deputy Chief IP Counsel, Richemont International SA (Switzerland) shared a very interesting story of Maison Cartier, which was sued by an individual designer, who considered that the Maison’s Trinity watch featuring the three ring bezel design was a copy of his original idea. The story aimed at emphasizing the importance of being able to prove a date of creation and how the time-consuming, ineffective, “ancestral” approach to dating by calling on a bailiff or notary, is now replaced by blockchain technology, which gives a digital document a certain date that cannot be contested.
The Conference also examined the interdependence between IP and data, as well as the competition laws’ interplay with the data protection framework, during the session Big Data and IP: What to Own, What to Use, What can be Misused.
Andrea Katalin Toth, Legal & Policy Officer, Unit G1, DG CONNECT, European Commission (Luxembourg) commented on the importance of data as a critical resource for start-ups and SMEs and how the use of big data increases productivity.
In a presentation focusing on the interplay between data and intellectual property, Marcos Alvarez Almodovar, Legal Director, Johnson & Johnson Medical Spain (Spain) discussed questions such as “is there ownership of data?”, “if such data are all part of a work, can this work be subject to copyright protection?”.
IP lawyers act as enablers
Miguel Arias, Global Entrepreneurship Director, Telefónica (Spain) then examined the role of data in innovation, the new trend of data streams and the importance of data portability, emphasizing how IP lawyers act as enablers.
The International Trademark Association is undoubtedly an advocate of wellbeing, implementing initiatives that advance wellness and highlight the importance of mental health
The International Trademark Association is undoubtedly an advocate of wellbeing, implementing initiatives that advance wellness and highlight the importance of mental health – particularly during these challenging times. The Europe Conference was no exception to that rule. In the session Wellness and the Brand Legal Team,Elizabeth Rimmer, CEO, LawCare (United Kingdom) and Alex Vowinckel, Professional Support Lawyer (PSL) for the Intellectual Property Team, CMS (United Kingdom) discussed the challenges of the demanding legal profession, the long working hours, the growing need to foster mental health in the workplace and how protecting wellbeing and mental health will enhance productivity and competitiveness.
The Session “Wellness and the Brand Legal Team” discussed the challenges of the demanding legal profession, the long working hours, the growing need to foster mental health in the workplace and how protecting wellbeing and mental health will enhance productivity and competitiveness
Other sessions include: The Europe Case Roundup, the IP Practice of the Future, where speakers shared their thoughts on current challenges and the future of the intellectual property ecosystem, Complementary IP Rights and Do You Know What Your Business Is Worth?
The Conference was complemented by speed networking, educational and business development sessions, “chair yoga” and the INTA Cafe, where participants had the opportunity to hold impromptu meetings, connect with other registrants, catch up with old friends, and make new connections.