The International Trademark Association (INTA) Annual Meeting is one of the largest conferences dedicated to trademarks and other intellectual property (IP). Held in Seattle, Washington this year, the conference hosted over 10,900 attendees (the largest ever in its 140-year history), and over 160 exhibitors from over 150 different countries. INTA is very much an international effort.
In keeping with the international theme, we spoke to visitors from all continents regarding the availability of relevant IP datasets. Against this backdrop, we saw high traffic in the exhibit area and at our booth despite the excellent educational sessions that were scheduled throughout the conference.
International Intellectual Property
Unfortunately, many international IP practitioners are unable to take advantage of the resources their counterparts from the U.S. can access. U.S. IP practitioners are often able to outsource research to intelligence professionals, paralegals, analysts, librarians, and legal assistants. Unable to do so, many international practitioners are seeking comprehensive tools to conduct thorough research on their own.
Additionally, international IP attorneys may be practicing in a jurisdiction that is not as economically advanced or does not have as robust a legal infrastructure as other developed venues. While more developed markets are seeing a downturn in trademark and patent transactions due to case law and legislative changes, international markets are seeing an uptick in such activity. Namely, those where an economic activity or the legal system are maturing.
Intellectual Property Data Transparency
Availability and transparency of IP data is a critical factor encouraging different venues to (ideally) mature, merge, and offer consistent IP protection. As such, the recently released improvements to our trademark data (including licensed trademark data, grouping and filtering capabilities, and updated trademark profiles) resonated very well. Despite INTA being mainly a trademark affair, there was a strong demand for patent, agreement, and royalty rate data as well (more improvements here).
Session Musings: Cannabis Trademarks
The “Professor vs Practitioner Debate: Trademarks in the Cannabis Industry” session offered a very interesting exchange discussing the pros and cons of the USPTO allowing the registration of trademarks for cannabis. This more than suggests that IP, in the form of trademarks, remains in the foreground of economic, legal, and legislative debate. With the FDA approving the first drug derived from marijuana, and the U.S. Senate introducing legislation to decriminalize marijuana, it appears that market forces may have developed enough momentum to drive the legislative change necessary to protect consumers as this new segment of products takes hold.
It is quite plausible that the world is watching how this matter is addressed in the U.S. and wondering what repercussions may transcend across borders into international markets. That said, a search for cannabis within ktMINE results in hundreds of cannabis trademarks in dozens of classifications from clothing, advertising, and cosmetics to medical, food and houseware, and everything in between. So it appears that cannabis already has a strong foothold in commerce.
Thanks to those that visited us in Seattle. We are looking forward to INTA in 2019 in Boston.