"What do you call a room full of 9,500 IP attorneys?" Whilst many may make up their own punch line to this, the real answer is INTA 2015 in San Diego. Whilst the South Californian sun stayed hidden for most of the five days of this year's annual meeting, the event was once again a great success. The attendance was a record in the 137 year history of the event, kicked off by a key note speech by Walter Robb, CEO of Whole Foods and concluding with a private party in the bars and restaurants of the Gaslamp district of the city.
Last year the focus was on the impact of the new gTLDs on IP Infringement and this year it was one particular gTLD that tried to steal the show. It's fair to say that virtually all trademark holders have no time for the launch of the predatory dotSucks but their conference tactics of parading around the city in a van with "INTA.SUCKS" on the side and giving out free dotSucks branded condoms to everyone around the Conference Center will have hardly won them any friends. Whilst the marketing adage of "it's better to be talked about than not" may be true in some circles, it's certainly not wise to get the backs up of nearly 10,000 IP professionals. The irony of news that their gTLD will be discussed shortly in the highest corridors of power within the US administration wasn't lost on many when it was announced during the event.
A lot of conversations focused on issues relating to enforcing IP in emerging economies such as India and Mexico, as well as China, where the biggest global online marketplaces are located. A number of sessions focused on collaboration rather than frustration with the likes of Alibaba and their subsidiaries, giving IP rights holders some ideas on how to approach issues from a different angle.
Brand Protection is big business these days with over a dozen companies vying for new customers in the conference hall. NetNames was well represented, hosting a very successful event at the San Diego Padres ballpark with over 25 customers in attendance. The team met with over 90 customers, prospects and law firms during the event, whilst CEO Gary McIlraith presented an award at the World Trademark Awards. In addition, the team co-presented with Sandvik, Deloitte's Trademark Clearinghouse, Donuts and ICM Registry in various sessions. Stuart Fuller and David Franklin also moderated table discussions on the new gTLDs and Online enforcement respectively.