Alan Drewsen has bid farewell to INTA after serving 15 years as executive director, telling its annual meeting that he is happy with his tenure.
After receiving a standing ovation from a busy conference hall in Dallas, Drewsen said he has spent some “very productive” years at INTA and that staff and past presidents have been crucial to his success.
“I have enjoyed the challenges immensely,” Drewsen said. “I leave with the feeling I have done a good job.”
Drewsen handed over to INTA president Toe Su Aung, who said “it is really hard and daunting to follow Alan Drewsen [speaking] but I am so privileged to follow a master speech from a master leader”.
“Alan Drewsen,” she said. “Under your leadership, INTA has blossomed.”
Aung said INTA will be left in the “excellent” hands of Etienne Sanz de Acedo, who was recently announced as Drewsen’s replacement.
In Latin America, she noted, where INTA helped Colombia and Mexico to accede to the Madrid System of trademark registration, the association “will continue to help as they implement the systems”.
She added: “We’re now working with Brazil, Costa Rica and the Dominican Republic, who are hoping to accede. We need to persuade countries such as Indonesia to get their voices heard in INTA.”
Running through a list of regions where INTA is working to promote trademark interests, Aung said that in Africa, “major brands are really eager to reach out to these countries but there are challenges”, adding that INTA is deepening ties with the African IP associations.
In Asia, where Aung is “especially excited to be expanding INTA’s activities”, the association is forging links with trademark associations in countries including Korea, Japan and Indonesia.
“INTA is on the cusp of achieving greater things, particularly in Asia, Africa and Latin America,” Aung said. “I want stronger relations with IP offices in these regions.”
There are several challenges remaining, according to Aung, such as protecting brands online.
“ACTA and SOPA [proposed but rejected US anti-piracy legislation] show that we are operating in a shifting global environment. There have been misconceptions that trademarks threaten consumers. We need the public to be informed and to improve monitoring, investigating and enforcing domain name abuse.”
“Step up engagement of the public,” she said. “Encourage people to participate in INTA.”
This article was first published on 06 May 2013 in World IP Review