A Look Back Over The IP Exporter’s First Year

Photo courtesy of Abdallah Iskandarani.

Earlier this month, I received a message from WordPress notifying me of the one year anniversary of The IP Exporter. As blogging on cross-border and trade-related IP issues over the past year has had results that I never imagined, I thought I would take this opportunity to take a look back at some of my impressions over the past year.

The outpouring of support and feedback I have received from other legal practitioners and those with an interest in the ever-changing world of cross-border IP protection has been the most remarkable aspect of blogging for The IP Exporter. Attorneys and IP specialists from all over the world have not only read my blog (which is a shock in itself!) and shared it with friends and colleagues, but they actually commented on it and told me that it helped in their research and the actual legal issues they were facing. As a relatively young attorney, I have been heartened by this positive feedback. Also, such communication has led to a number of guest writing and professional legal opportunities that I would not have had without blogging.

Another amazing thing I have found about blogging for the The IP Exporter has been seeing which cross-border IP issues have struck accord with my readers. Each time I blog, I am unsure whether an issue I think is interesting is relevant or important to my readers. Some postings I have made on issues that I think are not earth shattering, such as whether to register a trademark in India under the Madrid Protocol or directly through India’s trademark office (The Controller General of Patents Designs and Trademarks), have been the most read postings I have written.

Lastly, the ability to connect with people throughout the world has made blogging an amazing experience. I never thought people from so many different countries would read The IP Exporter. To date, readers from over 90 countries have read The IP Exporter, and much of my readership comes from places I never expected, such as India, Malaysia and Russia. I am also continually amazed about what I blog or tweet about, much of which takes place in countries on the other side of the globe, have resulted in direct feedback from those in such countries. For instance, when I tweeted in July this year about a story on how a hair salon in Dubai, United Arab Emirates was using promotional materials that were alleged to be confusingly similar to Facebook’s protected branding, I received the above photo soon thereafter by a local resident who found it on his car. Although, it is not a complete surprise that I would receive such feedback in this globalized age, I still find it remarkable.

What’s The Takeaway? Blogging over the past year has been an amazing experience. It has made me grow as a writer and as a legal practitioner. More than personal and professional growth, it has made me realize how large a need there is for people to know more about cross-border and trade-related IP issues. The culmination of these experiences has energized me and my efforts to blog on these topics.

What cross-border or trade-related IP issues are you facing?

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5 comments

  1. SALT

    I had already planned to say thank you for last week’s post ~ I keep all of the emails I receive with your new blog posts. As a burgeoning self-publisher I have found your posts among the best because you often discuss status around the globe.

    I think one of the main issues to be challenged is that the Berne Convention is not really anything to rely on – I am based in Australia where my copyright originates; I am published in the US where I also lodged copyright – but two ex-publishers are happily still distributing my works, getting reprints imported and distributing copycats. This affects my ability to take over the books and self-publish in a hundred ways.

    I think a blog on working around people who disrespect IP, TM and copyright as well as moral rights would be interesting to hear. And no offence, but ideas which do not require lawyers or ‘being careful’ ! There is no need to be careful with people who steal and profit from your work.

    It’s important for writers and self-publishers to be aware that if their ex or current publishers want to break the law, then be loud, be bold and be strong about letting everyone know what’s going on and keep at it. I have found this week an old book being sold all over the internet ~ by simply contacting the site, including a huge book distributor, it has resulted in the book being removed with a polite response from many of them. There are many ways to deal with IP breaches without forking out to use lawyers ~ and most important ~ be vigorous in unveiling those people who break the law and steal your work. And send your blogs and experiences to Writer Beware.

    • lsmichels

      Thank you for your comment. It is readers like you who energize me to blog.

      I am sorry to hear that your works are being infringed. I warn readers to be careful and/or obtain an attorney due to the sensitive and complex nature of IP enforcement and disputes, especially within an international context. I agree that authors and IP rights owners should actively and consistently defend their works from infringers, but this often requires careful strategizing, and unfortunately too often authors and IP rights holders handle disputes on their own when their cause would be best served through working with an attorney. Or even worse, they publicize their grievances, which can often backfire both from a public relations standpoint, and at worst, a legal action. I fully agree that authors and rights owners such as yourself should initially utilize alternative means to resolve IP disputes, but they should know that there is a point when an attorney is needed, especially when it is their life’s work and/or livelihood on the line.

      That being said, I think there is definitely a need to talk about self-help methods rights holders can take to protect their works and I will make sure to blog about it in the upcoming year. Thanks again and have a happy holidays!

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