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From 2002-2010 my law firm was a member of the International Trademark Association (“INTA”). I joined this organization at the behest of my mentor, Paul Reidl, who was actively involved in INTA and even served as INTA President during 2006. Paul was right; my INTA membership provided a rich community experience. Unfortunately, INTA membership costs $950.00/year and during my 9 year membership, I received no financial return on investment. Hence, I am not planning to renew my INTA membership this year.
At the same time I decided not to renew my membership, INTA decided to discontinue the most valuable service it offered: TM Topics. The TM Topics list was co-founded by Michael Graham and Chris Palermo in 1996 with the following Mission:[framed_box]To enable INTA members and non-members to share information and insight regarding trademark law and practice in the U.S. and worldwide.[/framed_box]
The TM Topics list primarily was used by practitioners to discuss legal or procedural issues, or to seek recommendations for foreign associates or other vendors. Occasionally a pro per applicant seeking free legal advice or a vendor solicitation would find their way onto the list, but those occasions were rare (likely due to good moderation; thanks for that, INTA). Sadly, INTA terminated TM Topics right before the holidays at the end of this year.
On December 10, 2010, INTA announced a new private network for its members — My Powerful Network. Realizing that I soon would be a non-member unable to access INTA’s new platform, I sent several posts about the move to TM Topics. Each of these posts was returned to me by the list manager with a notice that they were not approved by the moderator. After another post of mine was approved (one not relating to the move of the list), I contacted the list manager directly. I was told that my posts were not published because the response to all the queries about the move would be answered in one posting.
Here is that posting:[framed_box]
With the holidays fast-approaching, I wanted to take this opportunity to answer some frequently asked questions that we received about our new website and social networking site:
1.) How will INTA’s new website affect the TMtopics discussion list? Starting January 6, the official TMtopics discussion group will be housed in INTA’s new social networking platform, My Powerful Network, which will be exclusive to employees of INTA member organizations.
2.) How will My Powerful network enhance the TMtopics experience? The TMtopics Discussions group will allow users to continue to interact with like-minded professionals in a more user-friendly, secure environment. The group will also give users access to great features (e.g. Email alerts & RSS feeds, uploading attachments and multimedia to posts & more), and will allow for interactions to take place in real time while the group continues to be closely monitored for inappropriate use.
3.) How will I know how/when to access this social network? On January 6, the individuals within INTA’s membership can access My Powerful Network on our new website.
4.) What if I am not with an INTA member organization? Will I have access to this? My Powerful Network will only be available to employees of INTA member organizations. If your organization is not an INTA member, we encourage you to look into the benefits of membership. If you decide not to join the Association, you may find a group of more than 5,000 trademark professionals on our “International Trademark Association” group on LinkedIn.
5.) My company does not allow us to access other social networks. Could this be a problem for me? You should be okay with accessing My Powerful Network on your computer. In order for your company to block our site, your site administrators will have to actively identify our IP address in the firewall system.
6.) I still have questions, who can I contact to find out more about the changes to TMTopics and the new website? If you have any questions or concerns regarding the new website, particularly My Powerful Network, please do not hesitate to contact us by emailing network@xxxxxxxxx
We hope this answers a few of your questions.
On behalf of INTA, may you and your loved ones enjoy a wonderful holiday season.[/framed_box]
This didn’t answer my questions, so I sent additional queries in posts to TM Topics. Those too were returned unapproved.
I then bcc’d 50 of the current most frequent TM Topics contributors and representatives of INTA asking that we please have a public discussion about the move of the list on the list. All but a handful of the colleagues whom I bcc’d responded to me and/or INTA — all but one in support of maintaining the current format. The whole conversation was censored by INTA.
Not only do you have to login to a website to access My Powerful Network (rather than simply opening your e-mail), but you have to sign your rights away to use it. Brand Disastor if you ask me!
No matter what you sell, your customers/clients/members want to be heard and feel appreciated. Ignore them and they will no longer be your customers/clients/members. Worse yet, they may become vocal detractors; just look at all the “sucks sites” on the internet.
Please PASS THIS AROUND to anyone who used to be on TM Topics . . .
Here’s how to join the E-Trademarks list:
- Compose mail to: Majordomo@lists.oppedahl.com
- In the body of the email enter: subscribe E-trademarks-L
- Send email
- (No Subject needed)