Embracing Change and Redefining the Future

Jiang Yubin,[Trademark]


The International Trademark Association ("INTA") 2020 Annual Meeting & Leadership Meeting ("2020 Annual Meeting") was held online from November 9 to November 20. As an annual, international, premier event in the intellectual property (IP) industry, INTA’s 2020 Annual Meeting attracted the attention of professionals in the IP field from all over the world: a ten-day period of various high-quality, diverse and innovative activities, attracted a total of more than 3,300 representatives of trademark professionals from more than 110 countries to register, including more than 600 INTA corporate members and 340 government officials.
From the diversity and inclusiveness to new technologies and global changes, the Annual Meeting contained twelve thematic series of online education courses, covering global hot spots of trademarks and IP rights, aiming to benefit global well-known brand owners and IP professionals. From the virtual conference platform to the online exhibition hall, the state-of the-art technology ensured smooth communication and interaction among registrants, myriad social activities were carried out in an orderly manner, and all participants were closely connected. As a longterm media partner of INTA, China Intellectual Property Magazine actively participated in the global IP community’s premier event of the year, held in during this challenging period.
China IP Magazine booth
Reform and Innovation -- Holding A Virtual Annual Meeting
The date, location and approach of the 2020 Annual Meeting have undergone complex changes. Originally scheduled to be held in Singapore from April 25th to 29th, due to the global spread of the Covid-19 epidemic, it was postponed to May or June in Houston, USA. Singapore has subsequently been named as the host city of the 2022 INTA Annual Meeting. However, as the spread of the Covid-19 epidemic continues to intensify, many large-scale events in the IP field around the world had to be postponed or canceled. On March 13, US local time, INTA announced again that it would postpone its 2020 Annual Meeting to November. An unprecedented and daunting challenge followed: taking into account the travel ban, the state of emergency and the restrictions on large-scale gatherings, the 2020 Annual Meeting project team finally decided to hold a virtual Annual Meeting for the first time. After brainstorming and planning for several months, the various committee meetings was held from November 10 to 12, the Leadership Meeting educational program took place on November 13, and the Annual Meeting was successfully held from November 16 to 20. The ten-day virtual conference trialed the innovation, leadership and execution capabilities of the INTA leadership team and the Annual Meeting project team in many ways.
Lobby of the Annual Meeting Official Website
INTA CEO Etienne Sanz de Acedo reviewed INTA’s main achievements in 2020: “Despite the impact of the epidemic on its daily work, INTA still organized a series of activities as planned, including more than 200 online team meetings and organized general elections, submitted over 100 policy opinions and amicus curiae statements, and organized research on internal practitioner standards, etc. The Association will also release three think-tank reports, focusing on hot and difficult issues such as the work of intellectual property offices, internal management of enterprises and the future development of law firms.” Reasonable evaluation, active response, and breakthrough in innovation, INTA has shown full resilience, professional strength and optimism at the key historical nodes. Earlier in an exclusive interview with China IP, Mr. Sanz de Acedo admitted that the scale of the online Annual Meeting will be reduced compared to previous inperson meetings that attract more than 10,000 people, but INTA will provide participants with more extensive business cooperation opportunities. For the upcoming 2021, Mr. Sanz de Acedo expressed confidence: "Impressed by the incredible achievements made in 2020, we will uphold the strong family-like cohesion of the INTA community and continue to write exciting chapters for the coming year."
2020 INTA President Ayala Deutsch, Mr. Daren Tang, Director General of the World Intellectual Property Organization ("WIPO"), and Mr. Duncan Wardle, former Vice President of The Walt Disney Company’s Innovation and Creative Department, respectively delivered keynote speeches focusing on topics including intellectual property and trademark work in special periods, and challenges and opportunities of intellectual property industry development, and the significance of innovation to the transformation of the intellectual property industry. Ms. Deutsch reviewed the multiple ways by which INTA embraces changes and is brave to reform: “INTA was fortunate to have implemented several changes before COVID-19, changes that helped us greatly over the last few months. Most notably, we included “Embracing Innovation and Change” as one of only three strategic pillars in our 2018-2021 Strategic Plan. Already two years into this Strategic Plan, we began 2020 with the right mindset, especially in terms of choosing to change. And, in fulfilling this objective, we’ve undertaken a number of projects have helped improve our work during these times. An excellent example of this is our digital transformation project and new website. This was possible because we chose to change. The second way we’ve navigated change this year - We let our values guide us through change. Two guiding principles informed the most important decisions we had to make around how to host an Annual Meeting in 2020: First, the health and safety of our members and other registrants is always our top priority; and Second, as Etienne just also noted, INTA is first-and-foremost a community. No doubt, holding a fully virtual meeting is a remarkable change for us.”
This was also the first time for Mr. Tang to give a public speech since he became the WIPO Director General. During his tenure as the Chief Executive Officer of the Singapore IP Office, he eagerly looked forward to welcoming guests from all over the world in Singapore with professional and wonderful Annual Meeting content, and warm and hospitable customs. "INTA and WIPO have a long history of cooperation. The two institutions will deepen cooperation and exchanges in the future. The key issue is how to use the significantscale transformation from tangible assets to intangible assets in various economies around the world, and how to evaluate and guarantee the value of intangible assets. It will be our common development opportunity.” Mr. Tang also emphasized that it would become the only way to attracting investment and promoting social vitality by calling for the participation of industry leaders and politicians outside the field of IP rights; and looking at and solving intellectual property issues from a broader economic perspective. "WIPO hopes to achieve a strong connection between this field and ordinary people's daily life by establishing a balanced and inclusive intellectual property ecosystem, and to build a better intellectual property world by fighting against the spread of the Covid-19 epidemic and severe challenges to the global economy."
Determined to Break Through ——The First Mandarin Track Established
On November 18, Beijing local time, the 2020 Annual Meeting launched the Mandarin track of educational program. This was the Association’s first-ever programming held completely in a foreign language. Titled "Developing Issues in China," it involved a thematic discussion on issues such as the new trend of IP law enforcement in China, the new pattern of trademark digitization, the identification of trademark infringement in parallel imports, and the practice and thinking after the implementation of China’s " Trademark Law" amendment. Distinguished guests from the Law Enforcement Inspection Bureau of the State Administration for Market Regulation, the National Intellectual Property Administration, PRC, the Supreme People’s Court, the Beijing Higher People’s Court, the Beijing Intellectual Property Court, the Intellectual Property Publishing House, Beijing Junce Intellectual Property Development Center, and Chinese foreign-invested enterprises from the Association's Quality Brand Protection Committee and China Trademark Association attended and made virtual speeches and presentations.
It is understood that, different from the previous years when only the annual meeting sub-forums that focused on China’s IP hot spot events and industry development were established, the 2020 Annual Meeting launched a fully Mandarin track for the first time. It focused on the frontier issues of China’s IP rights, and live stream in Chinese and in China Central Time for the first time. China is the country with the largest number of trademark applications in the world. By the end of September 2020, China had 28.717 million valid registered trademarks, ranking first in the world for 17 consecutive years. Mr. Sanz de Aeco once told the reporter that since joining INTA and serving as CEO, he has always followed China's development process in the trademark field closely: "We are very pleased to see that the relevant departments of the Chinese government have paid great attention to the development of the intellectual property field in recent years. In the past six months alone, INTA has provided feedback on 11 drafts for the Chinese government, covering trademark infringement judgments, administrative mediation guidelines for patent disputes, and trademark agency management measures."
The development of China's trademark industry and the subsequent market opportunities are self-evident. When talking about the primary intention of holding the Chinese track, Monica Su, the representative of INTA China, pointed out: “As the world has undergone unprecedented change , China's economy has maintained high-quality development. Innovative applications of high technology such as Artificial Intelligence and big data, strong momentum of Internet giants and e-commerce platforms, and the Chinese Trademark Law has been revised and improved to meet the development needs of the times, making the China market a hub for the world's attention.” The unprecedented Chinese track reflected that INTA had paid high attention to regional related issues, and also reflected the enthusiasm towards Chinese participants. "Nearly 200 representatives of brand owners and intellectual property professionals from China signed up for the INTA2020 Annual Meeting & Leadership Meeting, accounting for 6% of overall registration. China is only second to the United States in terms of registration, from 110 countries and regions attending the Meeting.." Monica added.
Mr. Liu Chuntian, professor of Renmin University of China and president of the China Intellectual Property Law Research Association, delivered a keynote speech on "Intellectual Property & Business Environment." He believed that as the Internet changes people’s production approaches and lifestyles, the behavior and way of thinking that adapt to it have been deeply rooted in people’s mind. Globalization has long been more than just an environmental trend, but become a basic background for scientific research, corporate management and political activities. The way to properly understand globalization has become particularly critical for the development and progress of China’s IP industry. "From the perspective of technology development, relying solely on a single country for self-reliance will face the problem of a lack of extensive resource allocation. The way to integrate the world's top intelligent elites is a problem that multinational companies and scientific research institutions must think about in the R&D and creation of top-level products. In order to meet the high requirements of scientific and technological progress, there should be revolution from the level of systems and regulations. Only the conformity of the system and practice could allow the healthy development of modernization. How to attract advanced technology to "come into the Chinese market"? First, we need to build an advanced and complete intellectual property system. Trademarks are signs that facilitate property transactions. The fundamental purpose of various recent economic and trade agreements is to create a good business environment. I encourage everyone to know, enter, understand, and utilize the market, pay attention to the innovation of production technology and business models, and actively learn from other countries represented by INTA members under the market economy system the commodity production and business develop new models, continue to promote international exchanges and promote industry progress."
The Chinese track brought together government officials and industry leaders to share their insights and experiences on topics of current concerns. It covered a wide range of contents: in addition to the great role of artificial intelligence search tools in the trademark application, review, and registration stages, as well as the discussion of parallel import issues from multiple perspectives including legal and judicial practice and corporate practice, as well as the sharing of experience in criminal litigation and enforcement of IP rights, and the changes in review procedures since the revision of the Trademark Law a year ago and the inspiration and guiding on the specific practices of right holders etc. At present, relevant materials and playback videos can be viewed on the 2020 Annual Meeting virtual platform for participants to review and learn. When asked how to deal with foreign guests who are interested in China’s intellectual property and trademark affairs but cannot understand the content of the Chinese track,said: “in addition to the Developing Issues in China track on the 18th, INTA also set up a special Asian track on regional intellectual property and trademark issues, which will be conducted in English and offered in China/ Singapore time zone on the 19th. Moreover, panel discussions will be available for participants to actively discuss key issues from different regions with professionals from all over the world."
Conform to the Current Situation--Doing Efficient Brand Exposure Online
There were twelve thematic tracks of educational programming, including “In-House Practice and Strategy”, “Managing Your Brand in Times of Crisis”, “Innovation and the Future of IP”, “Anticounterfeiting/ Brand Protection”, “Regulatory Issues”, “Commercialization of Brands/Brand Value”, “Around the World – Regional Updates”, and “Professional Advancement” constituted a splendid 2020 Annual Meeting. According to reports, the event also provided guests with a combination of dynamic exchanges and high-quality interactive online participation. The specific forms included keynote speeches, seminars, round tables, group discussions, online exhibition halls, and social network.
Entering the newly revised official website of INTA's Annual Meeting, the homepage navigation bar can clearly guide participants into the Exhibit Hall, Forum, Social Networking, Community Networking and Corporate Meet-Ups, etc., through the agenda and subject index, to achieve a convenient and efficient online participation experience. Mr. Sanz de Acedo mentioned that the Annual Meeting provided over 2,000 places of table topics and more than 10,000 places for social networking. Among them, 45 of the 171 table topics were hosted by INTA corporate members, and more than 150 speed networking sessions with different themes provided more than 13,000 communication opportunities, and the INTAConnect platform used high technology to restore social experiences such as one-on-one meetings and occasional meetings. "The automatic matching application system relying on Artificial Intelligence allows unfamiliar users from far away to build a more effective communication network. For example, when users log in for the first time, they can customize their personal information, set preferences, and choose forum topics of interest. Smart applications will match users with other who have similar interests and characteristics, helping them to establish contacts, exchange emails, and receive individual meeting invitations."
The company booth in the virtual meeting space brings a new exhibition experience to the guests and provides a platform for law firms and other intellectual property service organizations to broaden the scope of business cooperation. "In the past, more than 10,000 people participated offline, but only 30% to 35% of the participants would visit the corporate booth. However, this year's online virtual platform ensures that every registrant will not miss the annual meeting sponsors’ booth." Mr. Sans de Acedo said to the reporter in a previous interview. The virtual exhibition hall is divided into blocks to display different levels of corporate booths. Users can easily enter and quickly find the promotion videos, company websites and product information that exhibitors want to display. Some exhibitors said that the actual experience of using the virtual display platform exceeded expectations, and it helped the company's brand marketing in terms of sharing electronic documents and collecting visitor data.
In addition, the “Women’s LeadershIP Initiative Workshop” which was especially set up at this annual conference became another highlight of the event. Mr. Sanz de Acedo told the reporter that “INTA has always been committed to promote women’s equal rights in the field of intellectual property rights, such as equal opportunities and shared responsibilities with male practitioners. The “Women’s LeadershIP Initiative Workshop” aims to jointly explore women’s achievements and role in the intellectual property industry. We hope that through this event, more outstanding female practitioners can be inspired, especially young intellectual property professionals.” It is reported that diversity and inclusion will is an important component of the Association’s 2022-2025 strategic plan.
Where is the future development of intellectual property? In the three subsequent reports released by INTA, focusing on the three themes including the reform of the intellectual property system, future challenges and opportunities, and the main features that the future intellectual property office should have, and the internal practitioners of intellectual property of enterprises and law firms. The three think tanks gave out ideas for understanding the problem: intellectual property stakeholders must adapt to new trends in social development in order to successfully respond to new situations and improve new transform. The report pointed out: the value of intangible assets continues to rise, and the important influence, complexity and market demand of IP rights are increasing day by day. In responding to the innovative challenges of global economic development, IP will continue to play a role, while trademarks remain the key responsible field.

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