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Benefits of the International Trademark Association Virtual Leadership Meeting

by | May 6, 2021 | Events, Intellectual Property

This week, I have been attempting to attend as much of the International Trademark Association (INTA) Virtual Leadership Meeting as I can. There are committee meetings, seminars on trademarks and copyrights, networking via chat rooms, and even virtual receptions.  

I really enjoyed the meeting of the Anti-Counterfeiting Full Committee, where we broke out into separate Zoom rooms for a Piracy workshop. There, we discussed the role of copyright in anti-counterfeiting enforcement. 

I was assigned to Group 1, which included committee members from Spain, Mexico, India, Canada, Dominican Republic, the Philippines, the U.S., and several other countries I cannot remember.  

How Different Countries Protect (and Don’t Protect) against Piracy

During this Piracy workshop, I learned that some countries (such as Belgium and the Netherlands) do not require individuals to register the copyrights for artwork, publications, music, or any other original creations. This is very different from the U.S., which requires copyrights to be registered in order to enforce infringement and anti-counterfeiting laws. 

Then there is Canada, which has a very simple process for registering copyrights. Because of this, some international companies obtain the copyright registration in Canada, then use the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works (an international agreement between member countries) to enforce infringement and copyright laws in other countries. The agreement has been around since 1886, and the U.S. joined in March, 1989. 

We discussed the overlap between copyright and trademark criminal and civil enforcement proceedings in different countries, as well as the differences. I learned that Canada law enforcement officials only like to enforce trademark laws, and are not as comfortable with copyright enforcement. In the Philippines, the enforcement proceedings include both trademark and copyright laws. And, of course, in the U.S. possessing both trademark and copyright registrations in counterfeit proceedings gives law enforcement and customs officials more tools for enforcement and enhanced damages.  

In many countries, enforcing trademark rights is much easier and more effective than enforcing copyrights. Often, law enforcement will not pursue criminal charges unless there is evidence of massive distribution of counterfeit goods that infringe on trademarks and/or copyrights.  

What Do You Need to Know About International IP Protections?

If the International Trademark Association’s Virtual Leadership Meeting cemented one thing for me, it is that every country’s trademark and copyright laws are different. If a company is going to conduct business in other countries, they should make sure they are familiar with both trademark and copyright laws in those countries.

A trademark registration in just the business’ home country is not going to be very effective in China if the trademark has not been registered in China. In addition, if the business has a creative design as a logo, they need to obtain a copyright registration along with the trademark registration in at least the home country. This way, there will be dual protections.  

Bottom line? This area of the law can get very complicated when a business starts expanding into international markets. Having a reliable intellectual property law team ready to help is a very wise business move.


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