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The International Trademark Association (INTA) continues to push for diversity, as it had always done in the past.
In fact, it is setting a good example: Since 2000, 11 women have served as presidents while five out of the six officers in its current Board of Directors are women.
This year, INTA pushes the envelope further as its goals reach beyond diversity in terms of gender to include racial equity, the LGBTQ sector, indigenous people and those with disabilities.
The Presidential Task Force on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, which INTA 2021 President Tiki Dare will convene, is aiming for this to happen.
“In the US last year, George Floyd was killed. That really galvanized me and everyone I knew,” said Dare who also chairs INTA’s Board of Directors. “Obviously, some very important diversity measures were in place before that but now we’re galvanized to do a task force looking not just at women with all the benefits of the Women’s LeadershIP Initiative but also at race, LGBTQ, disability and indigenous status.”
One of the activities under the Task Force is the implementation of the recommendations gathered under the Women’s LeadershIP Initiative and Best Practices Toolkit. INTA 2020 President Ayala Deutsch prioritized this initiative which addresses issues related to women in IP such as representation, career development and leadership opportunities.
A research-gathering project conducted globally, it served as a springboard, thus providing INTA with evidence and insights with which they could go forward.
Another goal is to develop best practices for members which answer questions like ‘Are there techniques to help identify which are the diverse suppliers, vendors and law firms that we may want to work with?’ and ‘What does diverse mean in multiple countries?’
“I know well what a diverse firm looks like and what questions I can ask, for example in the United States. But I don’t know that when I go get a firm in China or a firm in Africa,” she explained.
They will also create one of their officer roles who will serve as chief diversity officer, and enumerate the responsibilities involved.
Not only are diversity, equity and inclusion her key priorities this year; Dare, who specializes in copyright and trademark law, is also truly passionate about these issues.
She grew up in Miami, a city characterized by diversity. Inside the classroom, teachers instilled in them the importance of equality and the significance of civil rights legislation in the 1960s. Outside the classroom however, their community drilled in them the sad reality: despite the laws, people still did not have the same opportunities. In fact, there was a huge gap.
“There is a lot of work to be done before we achieve equality of opportunity for everyone who deserves it. That’s very important to me,” she said. “For all of the diversity work that’s been taking place in the US, worldwide, it just feels so important to take the momentum and take up that work and do better.”
There is indeed a momentum to ride on. Dare’s election came at a unique but very interesting time. It is a time marked by a global pandemic, driving innovation and digitalization around the world. Innovation is another passion of hers, which is not surprising considering she is assistant general counsel at Oracle Corporation and was director of trademarks at Sun Microsystems Inc.
And, it is also a time when women’s issues including women empowerment have risen above the din.
“To be a woman leader in this time, it’s really exciting,” she said. “We all have to choose to challenge ourselves, take up the work that we see available to be done.”
Among these, she said, is to work on things which have been impacted by the pandemic, learn how Covid 19 has affected women in IP and find ways to render service in this area and understand the dynamics that prevent full equality, especially among women in Asia. Another is to make sure the men are also part of this advocacy.
“There are many men within INTA who are excited about championing and allying with women,” Dare said, “but I think we need to really invite them in and have them champion women’s causes and not just have women speaking for themselves.”
Dare will also spearhead INTA’s 2022–2025 Strategic Plan to set its priorities and help steer the Association into the future.
She also aims for INTA to have more research studies and release more think tank reports; do more policy and advocacy work especially in relation to anti-counterfeiting, Internet governance and brand restrictions; and help develop all-star IP practitioners.
The latter jumps off from Deutsch’s Presidential Task Force that aimed to develop all-star IP practitioners – professionals with all the relevant legal and dynamic skills.
“One of the big things that we’re bringing to the table now is focusing on brand valuation. That’s one of the skills we wouldn’t necessarily get in law school,” she added. “We take that all-star practitioner idea and keep it evergreen.”
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