INTA Annual Meeting, Boston 2019 by Nick March

Come and say ‘Hello’ to WebTMS at the INTA Annual Meeting held in the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center, USA, on 19-22 May 2019.

Whether you are just starting your practice or looking for a new software platform to manage your established IP portfolio, the WebTMS IP Management platform is for you. We will be bringing our expertise and experience in managing IP portfolios and look forward to seeing you in Boston!

WebTMS representatives will be ready to demonstrate our ‘Highly Recommended’ (by WTR1000) IP management platform and how it can assist your business.

Visit our stand #719 & #721 during the conference to find out more.

Click here to view the WebTMS team in INTA 2019


WebTMS is organising the following client events:

WebTMS Workshop on Sunday 19th May.


Brush up your skills and learn how to achieve more with less effort at our WebTMS workshop on Sunday 19th May. Join us at the wonderful Weston Boston Waterfront for a chance to chat to our experts and solve all your trademark portfolio management challenges!

The workshop includes breakfast and lunch and runs from 10am-4pm.

Westin Boston waterfront
425 Summer St
Boston, MA 02210

at Marina Ballroom 1


WebTMS Drinks Reception on Monday 20th May.


Join us at the Bastille Kitchen!

Get to know the WebTMS user community at our evening reception from 6pm-8pm on Monday 20th May at the Bastille Kitchen, a fantastic contemporary French bistro in the heart of Boston’s Fort Point neighbourhood.

Take the opportunity to network with fellow WebTMS users and enter our surprise giveaway draw – just hand us your business card and make sure you stay for the draw later in the evening.

Bastille Kitchen
49 Melcher Street
Boston, MA 02210

To get in touch with us, please email Kasia @ [email protected].


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INTA team by Nick March

INTA is coming…

It’s not long now until the biggest event on the trademark calendar kicks off in Boston, Massachusetts. The International Trademark Association (INTA) Annual General meeting takes place from 18-22 May and is the industry’s opportunity to get together to network, share insight and learn more about the quickly evolving business of intellectual property and brand management. Around 10,000 brand owners and IP professionals have registered and they’ll be looking forward to making the most of all the opportunities on offer.

At WebTMS INTA is a major highlight of the year and our team is looking forward to it. They are INTA veterans, with combined experience of a grand total of 39 meetings. As such they have the inside track on getting the most out of the conference. We got them together to find out their top tips for survival and success and we discovered that, for WebTMS, it’s the chance to meet people that really counts.

The panel:

Rita O’Kyere (RO) – Director, Sales and Marketing. Number of INTA meetings attended: 22 (!)
Michael Ullman (MU) – Regional Sales Manager, Midwest/Western USA, Canada, Mexico, Australasia, Central/South Americas. Number of INTA meetings attended: 7
Richard Connor (RC) – Software Developer and Project Manager. Number of INTA meetings attended: 4
Christinne Wiss (CW) – Support and Training Manager. Number of INTA meetings attended: 4

What’s your role at the INTA Annual Meeting?

RO: I oversee our whole presence at the event.
MU: I’ll be exhibiting at the booth and introducing WebTMS to potential new clients. I’ll be greeting customers, informing new clients about our system, highlighting features and giving demonstrations. Also, seeing and catching up with existing clients, strengthening relationships, answering or troubleshooting questions or issues the clients may have.
RC: I will be at our WebTMS user workshops which takes place on Sunday 19th May, with Christinne and our director Andy, as well as answering any technical queries that visitors to the booth may have.
CW: I generally attend the workshops at the beginning of the conference and then meet with our clients and potential clients at the booth.

What do you think is the best and most valuable part of the event?

RO: Networking, meeting clients and showcasing new software features. For example, we have just signed a new strategic partnership with CompuMark that gives our customers access to 186 trademark databases, covering every jurisdiction worldwide – we’re looking forward to talking to clients about the benefits this will give them. Also, one of the most satisfying things for me is meeting with other company heads to discuss where the market is heading, what challenges we’re facing etc.
MU: It’s great to spend quality time with clients at our networking events – this year we’re hosting a reception at Bastille Kitchen on Monday 20th May. But also I really look forward to catching up with colleagues – we’re a global team so we don’t get to meet up that often and it’s always great when we do.
Being able to meet with clients in person, either formally or informally, really helps us nurture meaningful relationships with them. It’s a great way to find out how they’re using our products and what features they’d like to see us develop next.
CW: Meeting our clients face to face and putting names with faces!

What are your top tips for getting the most out of the event?

RO: Self-care! Stay off the booze and greasy food and try to get plenty of rest!
MU: Be present & approachable to attendees passing by, then throw the charm out there to reel them in!
RC: Same thing my coach at Crossfit keeps telling me – Don’t sprint out of the gate or you’ll burn out before you’re halfway done!
CW: Visit the various booths to meet with and learn from the IP professionals that attend the meeting.  It’s amazing the amount of information you can gather at INTA conferences.

What’s the best booth giveaway you’ve ever seen at INTA?

RO: Umbrellas! That particular year it did nothing but rain.
MU: In terms of a bigger business card draw giveaway, it was probably a new iPad. Otherwise, in terms of the smaller giveaways that everyone can have, a small briefcase which also included a universal charger for traveling, a planner folio, business card holder & pen all in one.
RC: The cowboy hats in Dallas a few years back were dope. I still have mine.
CW: I have to say I’m partial to our own giveaway last year when we handed out laptop camera blockers. I can comfortably do a WebEx meeting knowing no one can see when I’m having a messy hair day!

What sessions do you recommend/like the look of this year and why?

RO: Our timetable is always so tight that I won’t have time to attend any sessions other than our own!
MU: The Continental Breakfast sounds interesting! But seriously, probably the CSA23 Beyond the Trademark Portfolio: 360° Data Management at 1.30pm on Saturday 18th – it seems like a good fit for WebTMS to come up in discussion.
RC: I’d be interested in attending the sessions tackling counterfeiting in China – after a recent trip to Hong Kong the boldness and audacity of fake merchandise available in the street markets was very striking. (CSU01 Anticounterfeiting in China – Sunday 19th)
CW: Wow, there are so many great sessions but I’d have to say that I’m really interested in both the Trademark Administrators Idea Exchange and Best Practices (CSA50 Trademark Administrators Idea Exchange and Best Practices 3pm – Saturday 18th) and the International Trademark law course.  I love meeting with Trademark Administrators and hearing about best practices and new ideas on how to deal with some of the more complex aspects of Trademark Administration.  Of course, I always love learning new things so both appeal to me.

The WebTMS team, including our four panellists, will be at booths #719 and #721 throughout the INTA Annual Meeting. We’re also holding workshop sessions on Sunday 19th May at the Westin Boston Waterfront from 10am-4pm and a networking drinks reception at Bastille Kitchen from 6pm-8pm on Monday 20th May. If you’d like to join us at either event please click here for full details.


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CompuMark and WebTMS announce a strategic partnership by Nick March

WebTMS announces strategic partnership with CompuMark

Enabling WebTMS users to access CompuMark’s 186 trademark databases

WebTMS Limited, a leading provider of trademark management systems, and CompuMark, a Clarivate Analytics company and a global leader in trademark research and protection, have announced a strategic partnership. Through this alliance, users of WebTMS flagship product, will gain access to CompuMark’s 186 trademark databases, covering all jurisdictions in the world.

WebTMS’ comprehensive yet intuitive IP management platform supports the efficient handling of all IP matters with a strong focus on trademarks. Our integration with CompuMark will allow WebTMS users to import high-quality, reliable trademark data from CompuMark into WebTMS to help validate and update trademark portfolios.

The integration will create more efficient workflows by ensuring CompuMark’s best-in-class error-corrected data is immediately available within trademark professionals’ day-to-day IP management workflows.

The roll-out of this feature is already underway to ALL existing WebTMS clients and is available for immediate use.  Any new user that joins WebTMS will also benefit from this exciting new integration allowing global trademark data import and auditing capabilities. Essentially, we have taken a very popular tool amongst our user base and massively increased its functionality to further enhance productivity for our clients.

Jeff Roy, President, CompuMark, said: “This strategic partnership is the answer to the growing request of clients for being able to access CompuMark data in their trademark management systems. By integrating both platforms we are better serving the trademark professional.”

Rita Okyere, Director, WebTMS Limited, added: “This is a great opportunity for us to boost our services. By making CompuMark’s global data immediately available to our clients, we can ease their administrative burden thereby creating more time for them to focus on other important tasks. WebTMS acknowledges the ever-evolving digital landscape and to stay relevant it’s important we keep up with client expectations.”

The WebTMS team will be on hand to explain the benefits of the strategic partnership with CompuMark at the INTA Annual Meeting in Boston from 18-22 May. Visit us at booths #719 and #721.

To read the announcement from CompuMark, a Clarivate Analytics company, click here

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World IP Day by Nick March

World IP Day – Reach for Gold

In celebration of World IP Day’s theme of innovation in sports, we’ve taken a look at the inventors, academics and innovators old and new that have pushed the boundaries of competitive and recreational sport, helping athletes in their drive to attain exceptional feats of human achievement.

Finding an edge over your opponents is an integral part of any competitive sport. That edge can come through technology, psychology, equipment design or even smart nutrition. It might be the incremental gains so successful for UK cycling, or a psychological approach that yields a mental advantage. Perhaps it’s new ways of tracking and coaching players; refereeing technology that puts controversial decisions beyond doubt, or even an invention that makes sport accessible to new players and audiences. There are a myriad of ways that innovation advances sporting achievements. Here are a few of our favourite old and new inventions that impacted the sporting world:

The Lawnmower: until the invention of the mechanised lawnmower by Gloucestershire engineer Edwin Beard Budding, in 1827, manicured lawns were the preserve of the very rich.  Budding’s invention, which he patented three years later, meant that suitable surfaces for sports such as football, cricket and tennis were available to a far wider range of people and the democratisation and popularisation of these sports began.

Carb rinsing: It’s not the most pleasant thing to watch, but the regular swilling and spitting that was particularly notable at last year’s FIFA World Cup is more than just an unsociable habit. Academic research carried out at the University of Hertfordshire, among other institutions, found that athletes gain greater performance  and cognitive advantages when they rinse their mouths with electrolyte drinks without swallowing them.

Hawk-Eye: Dr Paul Hawkins’ Hawkeye technology was invented in 1999 and has been a regular feature of tennis and cricket tournaments for decades, but was relatively slow to gain traction in football. It was eventually adopted in the Premier League at a Community Shield match in 2013 and went mainstream the following season. The technology tracks the position and trajectory of a ball, player or car (think F1) with pinpoint accuracy, making “dodgy line calls” a thing of the past.

“Sharkskin” swimsuits: Occasionally, an innovation offers so much competitive edge that it is itself deemed anti-competitive. Such was the case with the “sharkskin” high tech bodysuits that came to prominence in the 2008 Sydney Olympics. More than 130 World Records were broken during 2008-2009 as the suits’ biomimicry of shark skin allowed swimmers to produce less drag than human skin. The international swimming governing body FINA voted to ban the use of full body suits in official competition beginning in 2010 and today the use of high technology swimwear and the amount of body suits are permitted to cover is regulated.

In future we’ll see increasing innovation around intelligent digital sports apparel, with built-in fitness tracking sensors that use IoT to generate reams of data about the athlete as they perform. There’ll also be advances in wear-ability and, as you might expect, some of the biggest brands are leading the charge. Nike this week filed a patent application for the word “Footware”, a combination of footwear and software, which is a sign that the company is planning to focus on digital smart footwear. Already, Nike has made good on the futuristic promise it made in ‘Back to the Future’ as self-lacing trainers have finally become reality!

Our global obsession with sports shows no signs of waning, and as long as athletes are seeking to win and push the boundaries of human achievement, there’ll be a role for innovation and accompanying intellectual property protection. Whether its advances in the sports themselves, or the brand associations and sponsorship deals that surround our beloved tournaments and competitions, IP rights and their intelligent application have an essential role to play in delivering sport for elite and recreational athletes, and entertainment for all.


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Going solo – setting up an intellectual property practice by Nick March

Taking the plunge and setting up a solo intellectual property practice is an exciting and nerve-wracking time for any lawyer. With barriers to entry falling thanks to advances in technology, the risks and initial investment are lower, while the rewards – from financial to work satisfaction to nailing that elusive work life balance – are tempting would-be legal entrepreneurs to take the leap.

While your legal expertise is top notch, it can be daunting to take on all the other aspects of running a business. We talked to some solo and small firm practitioners to find out what the challenges were and what advice they have to offer fellow lawyers thinking of going it alone.


Time is money

Underestimating the time it takes to carry out admin is a common theme among small business owners. In fact, research from Thomson Reuters found that solo or small firms spend 31% of time on administrative tasks, all of which detracts from the billable hours available.

Mark Hiddleston achieved a lifelong ambition when he started his practice in 2015. He agrees that administration can take up a surprising amount of time, particularly during the first six months: “A big challenge was re-inventing the wheel. Obviously, we had to set up all of our systems and administrative procedures from scratch.” He notes that “it is always difficult when running your own business trying to balance doing billable work and setting aside time for admin.”

Admin isn’t the only task competing for time in the early days of a business. Daniel Smart started his practice Colman+Smart in 2011 after time spent working in London and overseas. He found that business development was frustratingly time-consuming in the early stages, remarking that he was surprised by “the amount of time wasted in providing quotes that never went anywhere.” He also warns of “the number of people looking for free advice,” with no prospect of this developing into genuine client opportunities.


Time-saving technology investment

While only experience can determine which quotes are likely to result in clients, there are a raft of labour-saving technology options to help reduce the time you spend on admin. Cloud-based legal practice management software and billing technology, alongside specific trademark management software, gives you more time to devote to finding and working for clients.

Both Mark and Daniel use a combination of free and subscription-based tools to support their business. Mark uses toggl’s free time-tracking software and describes xero accounting software as “highly efficient”. He has also invested in SERION for trademark searching and watching and WebTMS for trademark portfolio management. Daniel also uses WebTMS, which as well as helping him manage his clients’ trademarks efficiently, forms part of his commitment to operating a paperless practice.

When investing in software and subscriptions, there are a few things to consider. As a new business, one of the important decision factors might be a competitive entry-level rate offered to start-up organisations, but make sure you know what’s included in that contract.

Ask questions about the functionality of the product – is it a cut-down version of an enterprise product? If so, what are the differences? Does it include systems and software updates? How about training? If the service is industry-specific are updates to legal processes and regulations included or do they require additional payment?

Support is a particular area to examine. As a solo practitioner, you need to know that someone is on the other end of the phone should the need arise.

As your business grows, you may need to upgrade your subscriptions, so knowing at the start what the different pricing tiers are allows you to build this into your business plan. When selecting solutions you need to strike a balance between cost-effectiveness and scalability to make sure there aren’t any surprises further down the line.


The advantages of small practices

Working with a small practice can have significant benefits for clients, as Daniel Smart explains: “A small practice has low overheads and offers a personal service that can be very responsive to client requirements.”

Mark agrees. “With low overheads we are much more cost effective and competitive than larger firms. It is also much easier for us to make decisions quickly and to adapt our services to the needs of our clients.”

Daniel also believes that differentiating the practice pays dividends, saying: “I have developed a niche knowledge of trademarks in some of the lesser known jurisdictions of the world, and am price-sensitive, which appeals to clients.”


Building a client base

While initial clients may come through word of mouth, building a broader customer base means getting out there and marketing your business. For a small practice, a lot of that comes down to personal networking – as Daniel notes: “my company’s brand is really me.” Mark regularly attends regional networking events and travels to global professional events such as INTA.


Tips for budding solo practitioners

For lawyers considering taking the plunge into solo practice, Daniel advises: Don’t get an office, at least to begin with, as clients don’t really care if you’re working from home.” He also warns of the need for patience: “Potential clients will promise work to you, but when it comes to the crunch it may not be forthcoming – these may need to take time to come to anything, if at all.”

Having started his practice in response to what he sees as a fundamentally changing UK trademark environment, Mark advises like-minded entrepreneurs that meticulous planning is important, but it’s worth taking the leap, saying: “Think carefully: it is obviously a life-changing experience.  If you decide to go ahead, plan carefully how you are going to proceed.  That said, I have found the experience thoroughly enjoyable and very freeing!  In terms of decision making, it is much easier to make quick and rapid decisions than working in a much larger organisation.”

There’s no doubt that setting up a solo intellectual property practice is an exciting but daunting undertaking. Freedom and flexibility for the practitioner combines with adaptability, cost-efficiency and personal service for clients, which are attractive features in today’s market. With careful planning, patience and the right technology tools to free up time for clients, starting an IP practice is clearly a satisfying and potentially rewarding step.

Thank you to Daniel and Mark for sharing their experiences with us. Do you have any golden tips for launching an IP practice? Share them with us!



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