Back at the Annual Meeting Live+, Vink said that the organization wants to maintain and expand upon the DEI gains it made under former president Tiki Dare’s guidance.
But, he noted, diversity comes in many forms, and the association’s network of representative offices is important to the association’s international focus. “We have representative offices in Santiago, Brussels, Singapore and Washington. That’s a sign that we want to be close to those markets,” he said.
Asia has been a focus of the association for many years, he said, while noting that the focus has shifted. “Asia has always been a source of counterfeits, and so a source of concern for brand owners,” he said. “The association has been working to improve the IP systems, and has had quite a lot of success. We’re quite proud of our role in the increasing sophistication of IP laws, authorities and enforcement throughout many parts of Asia.”
The association has provided comments on legislation and other elements of IP regimes around Asia.
More recently, Vink said, the view of Asia has changed. “Asian companies now need international organizations for their own purposes,” he said. “Asian companies are increasingly using and exporting their brands overseas, and they also need IP protection.”
The association’s diversity, though, comes through its members, rather than through a top-down edict.
“We have 35 to 40 committees, all populated by members from companies and law firms. Those committees are very diverse and balanced. And those committees, they’re the ones who make the comments on legislation and enforcement and local authorities. And more people from Asia are joining those committees, and that, in turn, is encouraging more people from Asia to join INTA,” he said.
INTA will hold its 2023 Annual Meeting Live+ at the Marina Bay Sands in Singapore. The meeting’s location was announced at the opening ceremonies of the 2022 meeting in Washington.
“We need to focus on Asia, and want to see more Asian participation,” Vink told Asia IP. “We recognize that there is sometimes a language barrier, but speaking English well is not the key factor to joining an INTA committee. We’re looking at your experience and your IP knowledge first and foremost.”
Vink said that at the Board of Directors, the association is evaluating its future with virtual tools developed during the pandemic, such as Zoom. Committees which used to meet by telephone now meet by video call, for instance, and, after two years of the Annual Meeting being held exclusively online, the 2022 meeting was a hybrid of in-person and virtual attendance, as the 2023 meeting will be.
Vink said he had received “overwhelmingly positive” reaction from the 2022 event. “People hadn’t seen each other for a long time,” he said. “But virtual tools will remain with us in some capacity, because there will always be people who aren’t able to join us in person.”