Company Update
June 11, 2018

HFL’s 140th INTA (International Trademark Association) Seattle Event report

This May 2018 another annual INTA event has taken place in Seattle, and HongFangLaw had the opportunity to visit Seattle together with colleagues coming from all over the world. Latest statistics tell us that this year more than 11,000 participants were greeted by this cold but welcoming city. Once again, the INTA presented itself as the prime enhancer of the trademark industry, thanks to its educational and networking events. Professionals from 150 countries were present including professional IP experts and corporate members.

As always, the INTA focused on the main innovations and achievements in the intellectual property practice, in order to push forward, once more, the limits of IP protection all around the world. International expert have taken part to the event and shared their insights on their own countries IP regulations and news.

This year, HongFangLaw was part of the event, represented by our firm partners, Nikita Xue, Tiger Zhao, Eric Su, Irene Zeng, Zhang Xu and Kevin Xu.

In addition to attending numerous receptions and networking events, we were able to take in a wide range of exhibits, presentations, committee meetings, and legal education sessions. Hot topics of discussion in both formal sessions and informal conversation included customs training, international trademark law and practice, mediation trainings, anti-counterfeiting, protection and enforcement of the rights of Logos, data protection and security, infringement and nonuse cancellation cases. One of the most interesting and useful aspects of our many conversations was to compare the Chinese legal system and other jurisdictions where our clients do business.
This year, our partner Nikita Xue had an active part in the INTA Bulletin committee thanks to her appointment as Co-chair of the Asia & Pacific, Law & Practice Sub-committee of INTA for the 2018-2019 period.

The event lasted from May 19 until May 24 with each day focusing on a separate topic, related naturally to the IP practice.

Most notably, on the first day, the focus was set on the fight against counterfeit, considering it a universal problem, as we know; tackling counterfeiting requires a holistic approach in which brands, consumers and other stakeholders must work tighter closely. Success is usually based all on planning, for such reason sessions were held between government official, corporate in-house representatives, and digital commerce service providers to exchange best practices and views on how to tackle online counterfeiting. Since the second wave of EU trademark reforms were introduced in October 2017, several questions have come up repeatedly and were reviewed during the event. In particular the removal of the need to represent a trademark graphically in an application was a cornerstone of the October reforms.

The second day, the focus was mostly on Design and trademark infringement, with attention on how to support businesses in closing the knowledge gap with the IP regulations. A big focus was set also on the different geographical difference in IP, this day the main focus was the African legal system which is growing steadily in this last years and has more and more a strong basis for protection.

May 21st was the official opening day of the event, and as such branched on various topics of conversation, bringing most of the new developments in the worlds IP practices to the table. Most notably we can see how there was a huge focus on the IP outlook in Latin America, which is improving but with still in need of a lot of harmonization and awareness. In addition, with the EU general data protection regulation coming into effect in May, brands need to get a grip onto their data privacy, and understand its implications. We also reviewed several other topics, such as Copyright in China, the trademark in the Cannabis industry, and a new approach against privacy.

May 22nd we shifted focus on Licensing, and how it can achieve more for a company than mere financial gain, but also balancing the requirements of licensor and licensee. We then came to understand that INTA’s new strategic partnerships & economic research department is conduction work across a range of topics and countries, with the brand value special task force, generation Z, and bridge building with non-legal association as its top priorities for 2018. Finally, we had some insights around IP enforcement in Asia, and how tackling counterfeiting in Asia can be a challenge, but with the right approach, brands can achieve effective results.

May 23rd was the last day for the conferences, leaving May 24 for the networking and final events. The focus on these days was more on linking the real with the virtual, and how to protect digital assets with the support of the new IP regulations, in fact designing ways to connect differently can play an important role in reaching global competitiveness. The last day then we had the chance of enjoying Seattle with the final parties and exploring the city most interesting venues, such as the space needle, the glass garden and the Pop music museum.

2018 INTA was a big success in many ways, and an opportunity to share insights with professionals around the world; preparations are well underway for the 2019 annual meeting in Boston, where all will enjoy an exciting program and fun city. We will look forward to meet our colleagues there as well.

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