Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Better than being a penguin? Solos flock to INTA

Fact: the coat of the adult penguin has
nowhere to store one's business cards
A recent tweet from Twitter diva and SOLO IP Blog founder Barbara Cookson reveals that next month's International Trademark Association (INTA) Meeting -- now seemingly rebranded #inta13 -- has already attracted 166 solo IP practitioner registrants. As well as offering wonderful opportunities for networking with people who aren't going to ask embarrassing questions about how big your litigation and dispute resolution team is, this poses challenges the most important of which is how the 166 (the number may have risen by now) are going to find one another.  In this context readers may wish to ponder on the following random observations:
* Many solo and small-firm practitioners look just like people who practise with large firms. Indeed, last year some of them may indeed have been practising with large firms and have not yet ditched last year's Armani suits and Louboutin heels in favour of the altogether humbler attire of the one-man/woman band. 
* There is no equivalent of the Masonic handshake that enables those who work in small practitioners to identify one other.  Perhaps an app should be developed in time for #inta14 which will enable the hand-held mobile device of a soloist to give off a discreet buzz when another soloist is within a 10 metre radius. 
* Speed-dating has been kindly organised for small practitioners, gregarious folk and the merely curious to meet briefly, exchange cards, make eye contact and then terminate the relationship without any sense of awkwardness within the rules of engagement.  This facility has proved popular -- but is its popularity based more on the fact that it enables people to meet, or to save time? 
* Penguins have demonstrated to generations of wildlife photographers that they have a remarkable knack of finding each other in even the largest of crowds, notwithstanding the fact that they all look pretty much the same. This may be something to do with the fact that their survival depends on it. It would be good to know if IP solo practitioners fare as well in Dallas this year.  
If you do, or don't, have success in locating your own kind, do write to us at SOLO IP and let us know your experiences.  You may not have found them interesting or valuable, but there's a good chance that you'll strike a chord or two with our readership.

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