The International Trademark Association (INTA) is looking for one professor to be chosen as a Table Topic moderator for the 2014 Annual Meeting to be held in Hong Kong next May. (For those who aren’t aware, the INTA Annual Meeting is a conference of about 9,500 trademark professionals from more than 140 countries. It is a good opportunity to stay up to date on the latest issues in trademark law, talk with key stakeholders, connect with colleagues from around the world, and get a lot of CLE credit.)
While INTA represents brand owners and has historically spoken from that perspective, INTA has made concrete and serious efforts over the last several years to broaden its base and include the voices of academics in its programming, particularly during the Annual Meeting. (Frankly, that is what caused me to join the Academic Committee, to work toward the realization of that inclusive voice.) The Annual Meeting now features an entire day of academic programming, including a Professor Panel, where academic thought leaders present their perspectives on issues such as trademark boundaries, functionality, and overlapping doctrines, and a Scholarship Symposium, where papers are workshopped by both academics and practitioners. The Professor Panel has become one of the most popular panels at the Annual Meeting.
INTA has also expressed interest in reaching out to professors who might be interested in leading Table Topic discussions in a particular area. Table Topics are two-hour discussions limited to ten participants on a wide variety of topics related to trademarks. Participants at the Annual Meetings register (and pay) in advance for a seat at the table to discuss, and the seats typically fill up quickly, so it can be a good opportunity to generate discussion if professors happen to be working on scholarship ideas that might benefit from input from diverse perspectives, particularly from an international audience. I have personally found it helpful for my own scholarship—it’s not always easy to find a (captive and) interested audience to discuss an issue for two hours straight.
A sample of topics from the 2013 Annual Meeting can be found here. If you would like to be considered, please send a short paragraph describing the general topic to me at firstname.lastname@example.org, by Tuesday, October 15.
The downside: INTA does not cover travel expenses.