Blue-Sky Thinking


Aislinn Burton catches up with INTA’s Director of Legal Resources, Liz Hanellin, about the Association’s expanding focus and how her department helps members to find important IP resources at the click of a button.

For INTA’s Director of Legal Resources, Liz Hanellin, the most significant development in her 15 years with the Association has been its evolution from a purely trademark-focused organization to one in tune with the growing demands on practitioners from adjacent areas of law.

“One of the key changes is taking on a broader brand focus, with an expanded concentration on adjacent areas of the law, and on more strategic brand protection considerations,” she says.

In the last few years, committees have been added to the roster at INTA to address copyright concerns, and the Association has expanded its remit to designs and data protection, as well as brands and innovation.

This continued shift in focus is reflected in the INTA 2018–2021 Strategic Plan. As Ms. Hanellin explains, there is now “a strong focus on promoting the value of trademarks and brands, while reinforcing consumer trust and embracing innovation.”

The Legal Resources Department is responsible for publication of The Trademark Reporter as well as the Association’s popular searchable guides, which members can use to learn more about a particular area of the law in a single jurisdiction or across several jurisdictions.

“The guides are great to use if you need to check a point of law or if you’re planning to have a conversation with counsel in another country."

“The guides are great to use if you need to check a point of law or if you’re planning to have a conversation with counsel in another country and you want to get some background first,” Ms. Hanellin says.

In an increasingly interconnected world, many practitioners are confronted with cross-border challenges as brands think more globally and seek to expand into growing markets.

Basics on filing, registering, and prosecuting are available through the searchable guides, which prove invaluable for IP professionals. The team recently added information on customs recordation and plain packaging to Country Guides: Essential Information on Trademark Protection Worldwide.

“Next up is a guide on anticounterfeiting,” Ms. Hanellin says.

A Shared Purpose

Across INTA’s departments, there is a shared purpose to be more responsive to the increasing challenges brands face with respect to new technologies, as well as to the ever-changing IP landscape.

Many members attended INTA’s Brands and Innovation conference in New York, New York, in March 2018.

“It covered the increasing role of artificial intelligence in legal practice, the role of social media influencers on a brand’s success, and the long-term strategy of brands beyond pure trademarks,” says Ms. Hanellin.

She concludes that INTA is continually aspiring to improve: “My team spends time every week ‘blue-skying’ about how we want to evolve our resources to continue to provide meaningful and useful content that helps our members effectively represent their clients in the ever-changing IP landscape.”

Liz Hanellin, INTA, INTA18, branding, The Trademark Reporter, anticounterfeiting