INTA Keynote: ‘We want to raise an anti-piracy generation’

By Gene Quinn
May 23, 2017

Joe Ferretti, INTA President and Vice-President & Chief Counsel, Global Trademarks for PepsiCo, Inc.

Over the weekend more than 10,000 trademark specialists, IP professionals and 150 universities from around the world arrived in Barcelona for the 139th International Trademark Association (INTA) meeting.

INTA is the global association of trademark owners and professionals dedicated to supporting trademarks and related intellectual property.  The Association’s member organizations represent 30,000 trademark professionals and include brand owners from major corporations as well as both small and medium-sized enterprises, law firms and non-profits. There are also government agency members as well as individual members.

In short, everyone who is anyone in the trademark world is associated with INTA in one way or another. And while the entire trademark community cannot always make every annual meeting, INTA annual meetings are spectacular events that draw enormous crowds. The 140th annual meeting is already scheduled for Seattle Washington, and will take place from May 19, 2018 through May 23, 2018.


The Opening Ceremony

During the opening the ceremony, 2017 INTA President Joe Ferretti highlighted the changing role of brands — moving from a focus on the functional attributes of products to becoming part of a social identity. More than ever, he commented, brands are being shaped by consumers.

Mr. Ferretti suggested that companies should assume a broader role as brand stewards to empower consumer engagement. If firms understand where brands are going they are in a better position to anticipate the challenges ahead.

“So today, I challenge all of you to evolve in your roles, too. Embrace the role of brand steward.”

The Keynote Address

On Sunday, May 21, Annual Meeting registrants heard from Íñigo Méndez de Vigo, Spain’s Minister of Education, Culture and Sport and government spokesperson. Giving the Keynote Address at INTA’s Opening Ceremonies, Méndez de Vigo said that there are still many important issues, such as the protection of trade secrets, the fight against counterfeits, and the protection of creators’ rights, particularly in relation to the digital world.

“Only we and not the passage of time can shape the present,” said Méndez de Vigo. “Time will say nothing but I told you so.”

Méndez de Vigo began by demonstrating the Spanish government’s determination to protect innovator’s rights, “not only because it is our obligation, but because it is our conviction.” He made it clear talent must always have a price and that it should be rewarded. Believing the fight against anti-piracy should be communicated through the school curriculum so as to reach children at a young age, Méndez de Vigo, added that infringing creator rights should be explained to students as stealing.

“We want to raise an anti-piracy generation,” he explained, adding that neither piracy nor stealing are “acceptable in our legal framework.”

The Brexit Effect

The Minister Méndez de Vigo also referenced current events effecting the industry, particularly the decision of the United Kingdom to leave the European Union, more commonly referred to as Brexit. Méndez de Vigo acknowledged that Europe is at a turning point. As a Member of European Parliament, Méndez de Vigo is convinced of the European Union’s importance and the need to have a common purpose based on freedom, security, and the respect of basic rights. For a new unified IP environment to function, IP professionals are faced with new challenges to address in an increasingly global world.

The Author

Gene Quinn

Gene Quinn is a Patent Attorney and Editor and President & CEO ofIPWatchdog, Inc.. Gene founded in 1999. Gene is also a principal lecturer in the PLI Patent Bar Review Course and Of Counsel to the law firm of Berenato & White, LLC. Gene’s specialty is in the area of strategic patent consulting, patent application drafting and patent prosecution. He consults with attorneys facing peculiar procedural issues at the Patent Office, advises investors and executives on patent law changes and pending litigation matters, and works with start-up businesses throughout the United States and around the world, primarily dealing with software and computer related innovations. is admitted to practice law in New Hampshire, is a Registered Patent Attorney and is also admitted to practice before the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. CLICK HERE to send Gene a message.

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Discuss this

There are currently 3 Comments comments.

  1. angry dude May 23, 2017 10:00 pm

    anti-piracy indeed

  2. Eric Berend May 25, 2017 6:22 am

    That’s it. Grandstand away there, bureaucrat. Pretend you are just SO concerned, and do it in a way that is prominently recorded. Shout to an empty room, rhetorically, once you have driven all the inventors away.

    ‘angry dude’ is exactly right: “what a farce”.

  3. Gene Quinn May 25, 2017 10:32 am


    I’m not sure this was grandstanding. Perhaps it was, but the person speaking about the importance of educating children on ills of piracy was a Minister from Spain. Maybe it is just lip service, but based on what we see all around the world where countries understand that the future is technology and they need to promote intellectual property (particularly patents) it strikes me as more of a sad commentary.

    What kind of crazy world is this where communist China offers better, more meaningful property rights than the United States? Europe is increasingly strengthening their patent system and making more patent eligible. And to hear a government official in Spain talk about needing to educate children so they appreciate the consequences of not protecting IP rights seems to me to be just another piece in the puzzle.

    The rest of the world gets it. The U.S. is the country that is moving in the wrong direction.