Monday 7 April 2008

INTA for first-timers

Taking up Shireen's challenge, I thought I'd say a little about the International Trademark Association's Annual Meetings. Since they are massive and potentially ruinous events, they are best planned ahead. The following are a selection of random points that may be of help:

* don't waste your time worrying about which events, talks and receptions are best in terms of maximising your chances of networking -- with 8,000+ people around, all of whom have a high degree of interest, commitment or expertise, you can hardly fail to meet and talk to the 'right' people;

* it is regarded as quite normal at the INTA Meeting to do some things that one might not do at home. For example (i) speaking to strangers and (ii) wandering round the streets wearing a large badge bearing the INTA logo (right) and one's own name;

* if you're working solo and not as part of a large firm, remember to factor in enough time between meetings etc to freshen up and/or take the occasional break;

* if you've nothing particular to do and nowhere in particular to go, the hospitality area near the exhibits is a good default place -- there are always people wandering round, coffeeing and often looking for a chat too;

* make sure you have enough pens, a roaming phone, detachable adhesive notelets, paracetamol, throat lozenges and other staples -- it can be disruptive and annoying so sort these things out in the middle of INTA when there's so much else going on;

* have three or four prepared professional trade mark-related conversation-pieces lined up for when you run out of chatlines concerning the flight in, the hotel accommodation, whether you've been to Berlin before, the weather etc.;

* have opinions on some mainline trade mark topics even if they don't impinge immediately on your work or your interests. These topics might include parallel trade, cyber/typo-squatting, internet auctions and comparative advertising;

* if necessary, make discreet notes on the backs of incoming business cards after you've spoken to someone - but don't trust your memory since you may find that conversation fatigue sets in and you can't remember who said what;

* bring plenty of business cards (not that so many people use them these days) and always have something to read -- it's often difficult to navigate efficiently and remain punctual, so you'll often by kept waiting by people whom you've arranged to see;

* make sure your website is up-to-date before you leave for INTA;

* the larger 'fringe' hospitality events are notionally private; it is however a widely-accepted convention that anyone can gate-crash so long as he/she leaves a card (the efficacy of these events is measured in terms of how many cards are gathered in);

* always be positive: it creates an impression that you are on top of things;

* be a good listener: it can be much less exhausting than always talking, and the person you're listening to will think you're really good for as long as you keep listening with the attentive face you learned to wear at tutorials as a student;

* don't schedule any work that requires serious thought and deep commitment for the day after your return.

If anyone else wants to add any comments and suggestions below, please feel free to do so.

1 comment:

  1. Ellen Shankman recommends:
    3:00 p.m. – 4:45 p.m. at the ICC Berlin Neue Kantstra├če / Ecke Messedamm D-14057 Berlin

    INTA Annual Meeting First-Time Attendee Orientation and Cocktail Reception

    For new INTA members, first-time Annual Meeting attendees, young practitioners
    and non-members.

    The INTA Annual Meeting Orientation and Cocktail Reception is the perfect place to start your Annual Meeting experience. It offers attendees the opportunity to meet other trademark professionals, hear from experienced members about how to get the most from the Annual Meeting and stay involved in the INTA community year-round.

    Please click here for the Guide to the INTA Annual Meeting.