“And I know things now. Many valuable things that I hadn’t known before.” I Know Things Now, from the musical Into The Woods. Music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim.
Going to INTA, the International Trademark Association’s annual meeting, sometimes feels like being in a fractured fairy tale. At first glance, it seems exciting and glamorous. Huge convention. Almost 10,000 attendees. The cream of the trademark bar. International crowd, well-heeled and elegant. Prime locations like San Diego (this year’s destination), Hong Kong, Seattle, Berlin. Dinners, parties, and countless small encounters with clients, colleagues, and even the competition. Four or five days away from the daily grind, yet thrust into a new normal of late night soirees followed by red-eyed early morning meetings and the desperate search for a strong cup of Joe. The pace is fast, the stakes are high, and, as one quickly discovers, the glamour quickly fades into a reality more akin to Mad Men if not Mad Max. To borrow a phrase from another film that simmers with anxiety and terror, INTA is “No Country For Old Men.”
So why do we go? Why subject our bodies and psyches to such abuse? Because humans–even trademark lawyers–thrive on challenges. Optimism courses through our veins. And our memories are mercifully short. Last year’s fiasco of a taxi queue that made you miss a key client meeting and lose out on a big case? Ancient history. This year will be different. A triumph. Like Caesar returning to Rome after conquering Gaul, we’ll exude confidence and savvy. And this May, after this INTA, we’ll live happily ever after. Until next May, when dismay begins to rise in our gullets once again as we set off to write the next chapter in our sometimes grim, never dull, and always promising INTA fairy tale.
QUOTE OF THE DAY: “Experience is the teacher of all things.” Julius Caesar