The ECTA, or European Communities Trademark Association, was established in the year 1980. It is a corporate body registered in England and organized under English law. It has approximately 1500 members, which come from all the member states of the European Union (EU). It also consists of some associate members from countries all over the world. The ECTA acts as a platform for people working in the field of trademarks, designs and related Intellectual Property (IP) matters. Members of the ECTA are, for the most part, professionals such as trademark advisors, lawyers, in-house counsels, trademark attorneys and others considered to be experts in the arena of trademarks. 
There are various categories in membership of ECTA. The members of ECTA are generally categorized into the following:
Ordinary Members: Nationals of one of the EU Member States, employed or having a place of business in a Member State, qualifying to practice before the OHIM (Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market).
Associate Members: These need not to be nationals of Members States but should have a place of business or employment in any one of the Member States. The Associate member can be any person who is qualified to practice professional representative before the Trademarks Registry.
Affiliate Members: An Affiliate Member of the Association can be a professional representative involved in Trademark matters in the Member States.
Student Members: To be a student member of the ECTA, the person should be a national of one of the Member States and should be an undergraduate or post-graduate pursuing a full-time course from a university in any of the Member States and should have an interest in law of trademarks and design. To obtain a student membership of the Association, the applicant will have to apply within three years of completion of their course.
Recently Graduated Members: These include nationals of one of the Member States who have graduated or have completed a full-time course from a university in a Member State.
Retired Members: Individuals who have already served as Ordinary Members, Affiliate members or Associate Members for a period of more than five years and are no longer active in any kind of trademark practice. 
The main role of ECTA is to serve as a spokesperson on the problems related to the use and protection of industrial trademarks/designs in the European Union.  It refrains from taking a stand on issues which lack a common consensus from all member states.  The ECTA maintains close relations with the European Commission and the Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market (Trademarks and Designs) (OHIM), which manages and promotes Community Designs and Community Trademarks within the EU.
The Articles of Association state that the Council shall reflect the principles of the European Union (EU). As such, the Association is governed by the Council, which consists of a total of 49 members and is assisted by the Committees. In order to remain neutral and avoid any sort of national dominance, as per the Articles of the Association, members of the Council are appointed by Association Members from Member States. The President and the Vice President of the Association must always be of different nationalities.
The Committees of the ECTA are granted their powers by the Council. They are in fact the soul of the Association, as most of the Association's work stems from these Committees. There are in all 11 Committees, including the following:
- Advisory Committee
- Anti-Counterfeiting Committee
- Design Committee
- Internet Committee
- Geographical Indications Committee
- Law Committee
- Harmonization Committee
- OHIM-Link Committee
- Publications Committee
- Membership and Disciplinary Committee
- Professional Affairs Committee