Approximately 7500 IP professionals gathered in Seattle, Washington in May 2009 for the 131st Annual Meeting of the International Trademarks Association ("INTA"). As many of you will know, INTA is an association of intellectual property professionals from over 190 countries. While our firm has been attending the INTA Annual Meeting for many years, this is just my third time as an attendee, having previously been to Chicago in 2007 and Berlin in 2008. My colleague Alain Bourassa was also in Seattle during INTA. The INTA Annual Meeting is THE meeting place for intellectual property professionals from around the world. This year, approximately 7500 attendees were in Seattle for the Annual Meeting. I had a very busy schedule of meetings, academic sessions, and yes, many dinners and cocktail parties. I'm always amazed by the amount of business cards that one can collect in less than a week! In reviewing my various meetings from the week, I realized that I met with associates from Australia, Brazil, Belgium, Cameroon, Canada, Chile, China, Columbia, Croatia, the Dominican Republic, France, Germany, Guatemala, India, Israel, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Korea, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Mexico, Myanmar, New Zealand, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, the United States, and the Ukraine. And I'm sure I'm forgetting a country or two on my list. WOW!
But for those of you that have ever attended the INTA Annual Meeting, you know it's not ALL hard work. In the interests of full disclosure, I will readily admit to having lots of fun at the INTA Annual Meeting. With each year that I attend, I get to know more and more of my colleagues, and it's great to see familiar faces and to develop friendships with my international associates. Attending these meetings gives me a great international network of some of the brightest minds in the trade-mark world, and I'm always honoured when these associates entrust our firm with handling Canadian work on behalf of their clients. The dinners, cocktail parties and INTA events that I attend are usually held in amazing places (this year, highlights included the Space Needle, Safeco Field for a Mariners-Red Sox game, a boat cruise, and the INTA Grand Finale at the Museum of Flight). Another highlight for me included an opportunity to hear the official Keynote Address from supermodel and successful businesswoman Elle Macpherson. I even managed to get a photo with Ms. Macpherson herself!
While the meetings are fun, our schedules are busy and it's a non-stop week. The Annual Meeting is a great opportunity to build on the relationships that we have with IP firms from around the world. Looking forward to the 2010 Annual Meeting in Boston!
This article was originally published in the July 2009 edition of the Perlaw Reporter.