Forgive my tardiness this week, as I like to put these up on Monday afternoon Indochina time, but I was in attendance at the 140th International Trademark Association in Seattle, Washington throughout this week. I know that’s no excuse and that I should burn the midnight oil to put out product, but I am only human, and to err. . .as they say.

I did want to use this forum, however, to highlight an interesting perspective I was able to see during the opening ceremonies of the INTA conference. Held in the very large Washington State Convention Center and surrounds. Seattle is a gorgeous city, and surrounded by nature. One interesting fact that relates to the place and the type of people that occupy Seattle, over one small bridge, more than 4,600 bikers crossed in one day, and that day a weekday. Seattle is a unique place in good stead to discuss the present and future of trademarks.

The president of INTA, a powerful and talented person whose name I do not remember, gave a short speech about perspective and trademark. Much of what people think about when they think about trademark is the big international chains stomping on little guys. For instance, the case of McDonald’s prosecuting a McDonald’s restaurant in Scotland that was named after the family clan name. Luckily, McDonald’s lost.

But that’s the problem. In an industry that is moving extremely fast and on the edge of technological advancements, the world needs to understand the other side of trademarks, the side that protects them and their expectations.

You see, trademarks are part of the brand of a business. and for people to recognize a trademark is to recognize the ways in which the trademark and fuller brand offer a guarantee, of sorts, in that you can expect certain quality in the goods they purchase from the stated trademark.

The suggestion made, finally, by the president of INTA was that instead of marketing ourselves as trademark specialists, we market ourselves as brand professionals. I think this is a bit too broad, personally, as most brand professionals have a much larger PR element to their roles while trademark agents help protect the brand, rather than define it.

It’s an interesting question, one that I had the opportunity to consider during the four days of INTA in downtown Seattle. A beautiful city and home to one of the most iconic brands currently in the business: AMAZON.

Because that’s ultimately what a trademark is, a recognizable image, or word, or phrase that conjures a recognizable brand. So maybe, in a way, it is the work of a brand professional, but perhaps only a partial brand professional. Maybe, brand defenders, to pull a line from Disney’s Marvel Netflix series. . .to use several brands at once.

Just make sure they’re capitalized so that the brand trademark remains intact. In that, perhaps, lies the key.