INTA annual meetings are always interesting, sometimes in ways that you don’t expect. This year’s meeting is in Hong Kong. I thought I would share my top five observations, both good and bad, about my experience so far.
On the good side of the ledger:
1. The Saturday night Gala was fun! I had never attended it before, and it was really nice. It was worth packing the extra black tie outfit, and I somehow even managed to navigate the shoe issue. Thanks to Iris and Stephen at the Copyright Clearance Center for inviting me.
2. The hashtag #INTA14 is a great idea. I usually use Twitter to send and read blog posts, but it is fun to see the short and often humorous comments from my fellow attendees, many of whom I know. This may sound goofy, but it makes INTA feel like a community.
3. The food in Hong Kong is awesome, and the portion sizes are reasonable (a welcome change for us Americans).
4. I saw a lot of people at the convention center with little kids. Good for them! I think it is a great idea for people to bring their families to INTA and introduce their kids to new experiences. I wonder if INTA has considered marketing the annual meeting to families, such as by making available information about local children’s activities? Just a thought.
5. As always, I’m impressed by the hard work that people do at these meetings. My own group, the Parallel Imports Committee, is particularly active, and we have some big projects underway.
On the not-so-good side of the ledger:
1. Hong Kong is not a walkable city. At all.
2. My office erroneously booked me at the Harbourview hotel thinking that it was the Renaissance Harbourview, which is the official INTA hotel just down the street. Everyone who was supposed to meet me at my hotel has gone to the wrong place, and I finally gave up and rescheduled all of my meetings for the Renaissance Harbourview. The quality of the two hotels is, shall we say, not the same. As a lawyer who is here for a trademark conference, the irony of this is not lost on me.
3. Hong Kong is hot (which I expected) and smelly (which I didn’t). I don’t mean that it always smells bad, it is just that everything has a smell. In the United States, we are used to things being pretty sanitized, and you don’t even smell food in supermarkets for the most part. Here, it smells very “real.” Also, a lot of people smoke.
4. The pre-meeting spam was out of control. I must have received over 100 emails, mostly from firms in China and India, seeking meetings and suggesting “reciprocity.” Can INTA do more to discourage this without alienating its membership? I wonder how many of these firms are even INTA members.
5. The cab drivers don’t take credit cards and many of them don’t speak or read English. That has made for some exciting times, because they will start driving without having any way of knowing where you are going. I had to call my hotel on my cell phone and hand it to the driver so he would know where I was going from the airport.
Back to the Harbourview hotel – the little one. On reflection, I am sorry that I thought of you as small and dingy (and smelly – see above) when I checked in, what with your tattered red welcoming carpet and all. But my small room was clean and quiet, and every day you gave me high-quality WIFI, fresh fruit, no-wait taxi service, and 24/7 access to a workout room so I could walk off my jetlag on a treadmill in the middle of the night while reading the Boston Globe on my iPad. You did me right, and I am glad I am here. Thanks for hosting me in your beautiful city.