MARQUES Chair Joachim Hofmann introduces the 35th MARQUES Annual Conference, which will be held in a unique hybrid format in September this year.

This year’s MARQUES Annual Conference is taking place as a hybrid event in September 2021, meaning it will be the first in-person event for the IP community in Europe since the start of the pandemic last year. We know how much people have missed face-to-face contact over the past two years and we are looking forward to welcoming a limited number of delegates to the educational and networking sessions in The Hague from September 14 to 16. Of course, we will be guided by the regulations applying in the Netherlands regarding social distancing and safety so there will be a few changes from normal.

We also recognize that many MARQUES members will not be able to travel to The Hague this year, either because of continuing government restrictions, corporate travel policies or understandable caution. That is why we are also offering a virtual registration option, enabling you to take part in all of the educational programme as well as some networking sessions from your own desk.

More than a webinar

This virtual option will be much more than just joining a webinar. For a start, all the sessions from The Hague will be broadcast to TV standard, and will be engaging and entertaining: you might even want to connect your laptop to a TV screen so you can enjoy them in HD! Moreover, both virtual and physical registrants will be able to join all the sessions taking place between September 14 and 24, including sessions which would normally be held concurrently.

In other words, you can benefit from up to 16.5 hours of education without leaving your desk – and as usual MARQUES will provide certificates of attendance which can be used to claim CLE/CPD points.

Packed programme

This year’s hybrid Annual Conference will include many of the features that delegates have come to expect from MARQUES events, such as thought-provoking panels comprising a mix of IP specialists and those with expertise in other areas such as branding and marketing. We will also welcome speakers from EUIPO, WIPO, UK IPO and Europol to provide updates and answer questions on topical issues, and the popular review of CJEU case law will also be held.

The Conference theme, “Peace and Justice for Brands”, alludes to The Hague’s reputation as the home of the Peace Palace (International Court of Justice) as well as more than 150 other international organisations. It is reflected in sessions that cover topics such as: when is copying a crime? Why do consumers buy counterfeits? What constitutes bad faith in the trademark arena? What ethical issues should be considered in trademark enforcement? How can brand owners and marketplaces effectively work together? And how far can brand owners control advertising, third-party use and emerging technological issues?

The webinars (which replace the workshops normally held during the Annual Conference) will take place from September 20 to 24, and will be open to both physical and virtual delegates. They will cover: case studies from Europol; implementing the Madrid Protocol; influencer marketing; phishing, spoofing, CFO fraud and more …; and how sustainability is regulated. These topics encompass many of the most pressing and challenging issues facing in-house counsel and IP practitioners today, and will certainly provide the basis for lively discussions.

Looking to the future

After the challenges of the past year, we are delighted that MARQUES can present a full and fascinating programme this year. We are very grateful to the members of the Programming Team, the Annual Conference Team and all of the speakers for their work in enabling the Annual Conference to take place again.

While undoubtedly this year’s hybrid event will be different from previous Annual Conferences, it also brings many opportunities, such as the chance for people who could not normally travel to a Conference to take part and the ability to re-watch sessions at a time that is convenient for you.

The changes in the way we work and interact over the past year will continue to reverberate for a long while to come, and will drive innovation in many areas. For MARQUES, the hybrid Annual Conference provides a great opportunity to build on our successful format, increasing accessibility and creativity. The lessons we have learned will probably influence not just this year’s Annual Conference but many future events too.

Virtual registration for the MARQUES Annual Conference is still open, and you can also opt to be added to the waiting list for physical registration in The Hague. Find out more on the MARQUES website here 

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