Who or what inspires you the most in your career?
I find inspiration everywhere. I am deeply grateful for the exceptional mentorship that I have received, both in law school and throughout my career. There is an image of George Floyd on my desk. Ruth Bader Ginsburg has inspired me since I was first admitted to legal practice. This year I was deeply inspired by Karl Reid at the National Society of Black Engineers, who reminds us that there are 650,000 Black eight-year olds in the United States, many of whom are turning nine and have been in distance learning most of the school year. I want them to learn early on that they can be business owners, inventors, authors, brand designers or lawyers to these important innovators and ensure that they have the educational opportunities to get there. I also take inspiration from the many people I meet through INTA, including young, talented women who started their own law firms to gain a leadership role and good work-life integration.
Your INTA presidential task force focuses on diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) in the IP profession. What would success look like in this regard – and how can others help to make that happen?
The task force should be a flywheel to drive sustaining effort. We should have a shared understanding of what DEI means to the association globally and a roadmap for building on that foundation in the future. We already have a powerful springboard from the 2020 Women’s LeadershIP initiative – our next step is to start to implement its recommendations. Our presidential task force looks globally at additional dimensions of diversity beyond gender, including race, ethnicity, LGBTQ+ matters, diverse abilities, attorney/non-attorney status and age. Our recommendations should apply to brand owners, law firms and IP offices. DEI should be a consideration for recruitment, project assignment, vendor choice and management, and AI building. Everyone can practise allyship. For example, as we implement the Women’s LeadershIP recommendations, we are also looking for our male allies to join us and champion the effort.
How do you engage key stakeholders – both within the business and further afield – on the importance of brand protection?
My goal is to be a trusted partner for my in-house clients in marketing. Marketing understands the needs of our customers. Brand protection should reinforce customer trust and loyalty. When we have to enforce an agreement with a partner that has crossed a line, the important questions are: what is the relationship that I want to have with this player and how can I use this enforcement transaction to get there? I always strive to shape a brand protection strategy that reflects the overall business context for the brand.
What is the biggest career challenge that you have faced, and what can others learn from how you overcame it?
I am deeply grateful for my fortunes in life. Whenever I have come up against a challenge, there has always been someone around me who is overcoming steeper hurdles with grace and professionalism, and who has been able to support me in overcoming my own challenges. My obligation at this point in my career is to pay that forward and support others. Convening the INTA presidential task force on DEI is an opportunity for me to fulfil that promise.
In what ways do you think the brand protection landscape will change in the next five years, and how should IP professionals prepare?
AI and related technologies will evolve rapidly over the next few years and will have a lasting impact on the brand protection landscape. Every IP professional should have a basic understanding of what AI is and where it is used in our companies or in the search and enforcement solutions that we use through vendors.
AI is a powerful means to automate many tasks in order to drive efficiency but our businesses are not run by technology alone. An important new skill is understanding how AI can integrate with business and best serve the people who use it. Which tasks should you automate so that you have more time to do the work with the highest value-add?
IP professionals should also understand the ethics of AI and its impact on DEI. AI tools are vulnerable to unconscious bias just as individuals are. Whether you are helping to develop an AI tool or benefitting from AI through vendor search and enforcement products, you can ask the question to confirm that bias has been designed or filtered out of the AI systems in use.
Vice President and Associate General Counse
Tiki Dare is vice president and associate general counsel at Oracle Corporation in Redwood Shores, California, where she specialises in trademark and copyright law. Her areas of practice include anticounterfeiting, advertising, intellectual property and competition. She previously led the trademark group at Sun Microsystems Inc. Before joining Sun, she specialised in trademark law at Fenwick & West in Palo Alto, California. As 2021 INTA president, Ms Dare is chair of the board of directors and executive committee.