News & Insight

Trade marks May 14, 2019
141st annual meeting of the International Trade Mark Association descends on Boston

141st annual meeting of the International Trade Mark Association descends on Boston


he Annual Meeting of the International Trade Mark Association (“INTA“) is upon us again. The 141st meeting takes place this year between 18 and 22 May 2019. Over 10,000 IP professionals from across the globe will be descending on Boston to make and renew acquaintances and to exchange views and experiences of current IP trends and topics of interest.

Once again, the latest technological advancements take their position on the agenda: 4D printing, augmented reality, virtual reality and machine learning will all be discussed and dissected by those in the know to throw some light on the challenges and opportunities that they pose for legal practitioners and their brand-owner clients.

Of particular interest is artificial intelligence. AI is a buzzword in many sectors at the moment and the legal sector is no different. Speakers, including from Microsoft, will be looking at how AI is changing the landscape in which goods and services are marketed and sold, as well as exploring the impact of AI on the day to day practice of trade mark professionals.

I sit on the Trade Mark Office Practices Committee and during the conference we will be looking in particular at how AI is impacting the practices of the EU national trade mark offices – for example, the extent to which AI either is already being used or might be used in relation to trade mark searches, filing or examination.

It is perhaps no surprise that blockchain and distributed ledger technology will also be featured in an “industry breakout” session. Speakers, including from the European Intellectual Property Office (“EUIPO“) and JAAK (a company building a blockchain network to assist the music and media industries) will be looking at, among other aspects, the potential applications of blockchain for brand-led business, such as: supply chain shipment tracking, brand messaging, anti-counterfeiting and “smart IP rights” (i.e. using blockchain technology to record IP rights and events in their life cycle on a distributed ledger as opposed to a traditional registry database).

Blockchain has great potential in relation to the protection of all IP rights, including patents, copyright, design rights and trade marks. For example, nailing down dates and the dates of evidence can be a fundamental part of trade mark practice. Questions about when, where and how a trade mark has been used can be answered using blockchain and answered quickly.

Watch this space for snapshots and insights live from the conference.

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