On the tail end of the annual meeting of the International Trademark Association in Boston, which I’ve used as an excuse not to post much or any new material, some thoughts:
- I’ve heard widespread unhappiness about the quality of the programs, which in my experience seems to be largely justified. Information is doled out as if by an eye dropper; many presenters are not competent public speakers or, in some cases, English speakers; no printed materials are distributed; and, if you haven’t been following my tweets on the subject, an inordinate amount of time is spent by panel “chairs” reciting the boring bios of panel participants to an audience that really could not care less.
- Also on the negative side, the “exhibition” part is getting harder and harder to understand. If you’re signed up for a full complement of programs, there’s very little time to check out the exhibitors. Yesterday they chased us away at 4 PM. On the other hand, maybe it doesn’t make that much difference: It seems to be the same cats every year, or if it’s not, it still, as I said, seems to be. Is there any commercial relevance to these hire-pretty-girls-and-set-up-a-colorful-display-and-get-business-cards-in-a-bowl things any more?
- On the up side: Boston!
Beautiful city, amazing conference center (yes, it’s a bit too sprawling perhaps, but they seem to really have thought out how space like this is to be used), just always a great experience visiting here.
- Also, as usual, the execution of every conference-planning aspect of the annual meeting by INTA is well-neigh flawless.* Shuttle buses worked great.
- Trademark lawyers are mostly fun and interesting. I’m amazed how many are “dressing up” in this unseasonably hot weather, though. I opted for biz-cazh, myself.
- No real excuse for grownups to go to the disco parties at night. Certainly not if they’re married and traveling alone. But I’m told there were fewer such parties this year, a reflection perhaps of competitive and financial issues, or maybe a realization of how pointless these things are.
At the end of the day, INTA’s okay. I like INTA. Naturally it’s mainly the property of Big IP. Committee membership, much less leadership, is mainly–mainly–about corporate and big-firm hierarchy, not thought leadership or anything scary like that. But what do you expect? The rest of us are treated courteously and as professionals deserving of a voice as long as we have “game.” And, hey, we’ve got game, no?
* One niggling exception: Every year I indicate–on INTA’s own form–my “preference” for a kosher meal at the Table Topics luncheon meetings, and every year I end up having iced tea for lunch. If you can’t deliver it, folks, don’t offer it!