“INTA can serve as the connector”: new president on association’s expanded anti-counterfeiting role

The election of Tish Berard as 2018 president of the International Trademark Association (INTA) and chair of its board of directors was formally announced on January 10 2018. In an interview with World Trademark Review she revealed that the association is keen to promote global coordination between different stakeholders, particularly with regard to anti-counterfeiting.

Boston-based Berard was formerly vice president and general counsel for diamond company Hearts On Fire and takes up the INTA presidency as the association embarks on its 2018 to 2021 Strategic Plan. “The issue of counterfeiting is becoming more complex and therefore harder to tackle,” Berard commented on the day she assumed the presidency. “We need to find an approach where we develop a network with all relevant stakeholders, including brand owners, associations and government agencies. As the largest brand owner association worldwide, INTA can serve as the connector between those stakeholders, and we are eager to work with others to address this escalating problem.”

As one of her goals, Berard will also seek to advance trademark protection for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), overseeing a presidential taskforce to assess the interest of SMEs and entrepreneurs in intellectual property and to identify effective communication strategies. “We are fortunate enough to work at a time when entrepreneurship and creativity are flourishing but intellectual property is not always what people are thinking about when developing new ideas and products,” she explained. “INTA has an opportunity to provide resources and education to help innovators understand intellectual property and ensure they have protected their ideas and products. They need to think about it now, not after the product has been developed as it is often too late then. The taskforce will therefore look at whether there are specific opportunities and challenges related to IP protection that are unique to SMEs and identify what gaps can be filled with additional resources and education.”

As well as SME outreach, reinforcing consumer trust is a central goal of INTA’s Strategic Plan. “INTA and trademark practitioners do need to demystify what intellectual property is and promote its positive benefits, such as how it contributes to GDP, provides employment, etc,” Berard argues. “This in turn has an impact on consumer perception of brands and INTA will continue to engage with not only IP organisations, but also consumer bodies to promote the importance of brands for consumer benefit and safety. We want to promote the positives of intellectual property and will do so through communication initiatives around economic studies and by building bridges with other stakeholders in the brand world, so we can take an active and influential role in the conversation around brand equity.”

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