What skills and experiences have you gained as executive vice president and deputy general counsel at the National Basketball Association that have helped in your role as 2020 INTA president?
Although my substantive experience overseeing intellectual property for the NBA has been useful, my experience managing projects and teams, and my involvement in strategic planning has helped me the most in my role as 2020 INTA president. This has proved invaluable given INTA’s extensive and diverse slate of activities and the large number of volunteers and staff involved – even more so in the face of challenges presented by covid-19.
Professional development is the primary focus of your presidential taskforce. How do you nurture talent and, for those starting their careers, how important is involvement in associations such as INTA?
This year’s presidential taskforce is focused on developing “all-star IP practitioners” and helping IP practitioners demonstrate the value that they can bring beyond the core function of trademark prosecution and enforcement.
Participation in INTA offers professional development opportunities that you may not get as a junior associate in a law firm. One of the early highlights of my career was in my first committee assignment, when I worked on an INTA amicus brief that went to the US Supreme Court.
Talent is best nurtured by pairing substantive development and genuine opportunities that will lead to success and advancement. When someone fully realises the value that they can deliver, they thrive because they become the best version of themselves.
How do you work with international partners to spread the IP message globally and help shape perceptions in external, hard-to-reach markets?
INTA has expanded its global footprint through regional offices, global membership and international delegations. INTA’s regional staff, together with members, are building relationships with global stakeholders in the IP community and beyond.
We have been producing impact studies to highlight to policy makers the value of trademarks to their country’s economy, including two studies conducted with the Inter-American Association of Intellectual Property on the economic contribution of trademarks in Latin America.
Education is also key. Since 2012, through our Unreal Campaign, INTA volunteers have been educating young consumers about the value of trademarks and brands and the dangers of counterfeit goods. Last year, with the National Trade Foundation for Education, we brought the Unreal Campaign to more than 3,000 students in Chile. Recently, we partnered with India’s Cell for IP Rights Promotion and Management to deliver the campaign’s first two virtual presentations to 160 educators.
INTA has been praised for its communal response to the coronavirus pandemic. How important are corporate social responsibility (CSR) and ethical standards among brands, as well as IP professionals?
The covid-19 pandemic has made CSR more important than ever. This global crisis will have a long-lasting impact on brands and their role in society, as well as consumer expectations. Brands need to assume a higher degree of social responsibility now and post-pandemic. The bar has been raised for ethical standards.
IP professionals have an important role to play here. Intellectual property, and trademarks specifically, are the foundation for trust between brands and consumers. According to the “2019 Edelman Trust Barometer – In Brands We Trust”, 69% of consumers say that a brand’s impact on society is a key reason for trusting that brand. IP professionals protect that trust.
In our recent Brands and CSR Survey Report, INTA members overwhelmingly agreed that treating CSR as an operational priority “constitutes good economic practice and will benefit a company and/or brand”.
What do you see as the biggest challenges facing IP practitioners in the next few years, and how can companies prepare for these?
The covid-19 pandemic has presented some early but clear implications for intellectual property. Filings are already down. We anticipate lower IP budgets for brands and less work for outside counsel. As a community, we need to develop innovative solutions that mitigate the impact of the crisis on in-house legal teams, law firms and IP offices.
Counterfeiting continues to be a challenge, and brand restrictions are of growing concern. We need to understand how intellectual property intersects with emerging technologies and what that means for our role as IP protectors. There must also be greater recognition of intellectual property’s critical role in CSR initiatives and, more broadly, the overall brand narrative.
In general, practitioners need to be forward-thinking. INTA has various committees and think tanks looking into key issues to help guide practitioners and inform IP policy in the future.
2020 INTA President
Ayala Deutsch is executive vice president and deputy general counsel at NBA Properties Inc, the marketing and licensing arm of the National Basketball Association (NBA), where she is responsible for managing commercial legal affairs and IP matters for the NBA and its affiliated leagues. Ms Deutsch is the 2020 INTA president and chair of its board of directors and executive committee.