Published March 5, 2024

New York, New York—March 4, 2024—The International Trademark Association (INTA) has published IP in Times of Recession: A Comprehensive Guide for IP Professionals. It is essential reading for the global intellectual property (IP) community on the many and complex issues that economic uncertainty can present and provides brand owners and professionals with guidance on how to prepare for and navigate the impact of recessions on IP.

The response of the IP system during the 2020 recession (which was primarily driven by the COVID-19 pandemic) demonstrated its adaptability and resilience as well as the critical role it played in how the global economy eventually emerged from the crisis. However, though the impact of recessions is generally well studied and documented, including on the legal industry, the impact of recessions on the IP industry has not yet been studied. This has left the IP community without resources to help them in dealing with the impact of a recession on their trademarks and complementary IP.

INTA convened its Recession & IP Project Team to help provide brand professionals the tools to prepare for and mitigate the effects of a recession on their IP, and to manage their IP rights, particularly trademarks, in the most efficient way during a recession.

“A recession is a financial emergency, and every professional must equip themselves to deal with it. People who train themselves to deal with an emergency in advance stand a better chance of emerging unscathed from it,” said Project Team Co-Chair Meera Chature Sankhari (Jupiter Law Partners, India). “Our Project Team aimed to equip IP professionals with the right tools to deal with a recession.”

Monitoring IP-related activities vigilantly provides early indications of a recession’s impact on a business as a whole. Keeping in mind the extent to which different regions and industries may respond differently, the report offers guidance for developing IP strategies that reflect varied approaches to navigating the challenges and opportunities presented by recessions in diverse circumstances.

The report provides directions for law firms, in particular, to support and guide clients negatively affected by a recession, including generating revenue with creative methods for resolving ongoing debt issues; identifying the core rights, and abandoning the remaining in order to reduce annuity costs with an eye on which IP right is appropriate in a given stage of business life; and reviewing IP rights to determine whether all their rights are protected, if they need to remain so, and, even, whether new rights can be filed in light of grace periods.

“This comprehensive guide is a must-read. It is informative, instructive, and relevant to in-house professionals and outside practitioners alike,” said Project Team Co-Chair Tanya Fickenscher (Major League Baseball, USA). “From determining how to identify a recession to understanding the financial impacts on trademark portfolios to learn what steps we as practitioners can take to safeguard, manage—and even potentially grow—our portfolios, there is something for everyone.”

Notably, the report strongly underlines the key role technology plays in helping the IP community weather uncertain economic times. Through research performed by both an internal survey and external reports, the results consistently found the implementation of legal tech solutions to be vital. As the report notes, “It has been observed that those trademark practitioners who adopted certain technology were less negatively impacted by this most recent recession.”

“INTA offers concrete resources to our members in order to address challenges and opportunities as they arise in our industry. Recessions are a good example of a challenge that is cyclical and, often, foreseeable, and this report provides future-facing research that equips our community with the insight they need to learn from past recessions, build best practices, and prepare for the next economic crisis. It is designed so that brand professionals can make the best choices for their brands and their clients’ brands, even in the most difficult times,” commended INTA CEO Etienne Sanz de Acedo.

Read IP in Times of Recession: A Comprehensive Guide for IP Professionals.

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