More than 11,100 brand owners, trademark practitioners, and other intellectual property (IP) professionals from 150+ countries are gathering today through May 22 in Boston, Massachusetts for the 2019 Annual Meeting of the International Trademark Association (INTA) to discuss contemporary topics that impact brands, consumers, and local and global economies.

The event comes at a time when the protection of intellectual property (IP) rights takes on increased importance, and when brand owners worldwide are considering the opportunities and challenges in the rapidly changing global IP environment.

Among the more than 300 educational sessions, INTA’s just-released attitudinal study, Gen Z Insights: Brands and Counterfeit Products, will be the focus of a session on May 19; the multi-country study explores Gen Z’s relationship with brands and uniquely looks at purchasing decisions of both real and counterfeit products through a moral vs. practical lens.

At the Opening Ceremony on May 19, INTA President David Lossignol, Head of Trademarks, Domain Names and Copyrights at Novartis Pharma AG, Switzerland, will issue a call “to make counterfeiting socially unacceptable,” as part of his presidential initiative, Brands for a Better Society.

Also at the Opening Ceremony, Michael Haddad, a United Nations climate change champion and record-holding professional athlete, will give an inspirational keynote address. After Mr. Haddad became paralyzed from the chest down due to an accident at age six, he taught himself to walk again through his belief in “turning disability into distinctive ability.”

The Annual Meeting draws trademark and other IP professionals from major corporations and law firms, as well as small and medium-sized enterprises, service providers, and high-level officials from national, regional, and international IP offices.

Trademark-intensive industries contribute significantly to local economies, gross domestic product, and job growth. International trade in counterfeit and pirated goods, including digital piracy, is expected to skyrocket to as high as $2.81 trillion by 2020, according to study published in 2017 by INTA and the International Chamber of Commerce-BASCAP.

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