Chartered Trade Mark Attorney Beverley Robinson sheds light on the effects of the health crisis on trademark law and intellectual property more broadly, as well as other trends currently shaping the careers of trademark lawyers.
We are all well aware of how the world of work has changed for legal professionals since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. What do you think have been the biggest changes?
The way we interact with our colleagues and customers has changed significantly, moving from a more formal meeting setting to a more relaxed one. While the benefits of face-to-face meetings can never truly be replicated with virtual meetings, the convenience of video makes regular contact with customers easier.
We also now work in a more agile way that includes both working from home and working in the office, which can allow for greater flexibility and increased productivity.
How has the pandemic affected the working practices of trademark attorneys in particular?
Due to the pandemic, businesses have had to adapt and diversify. This naturally led to a wave of new innovations requiring IP protection.
In particular, a significant increase in e-commerce has spurred innovation in online marketplaces and social media platforms, but has also resulted in a significant increase in counterfeit products. This has led to an increased need for online rights protection and enforcement strategies.
Our role involves an international element as managing our clients’ global portfolios requires us to work with an extensive network of trusted overseas associates. Building and maintaining these relationships during the pandemic has been more difficult due to travel restrictions, and communication channels have had to remain open. In-person conferences and events, where we can reconnect with our contacts and foster new relationships, are now more important than ever.
How have the teaching methods and qualification paths for trademark attorneys changed?
Traditionally, teaching for interns and junior members of the profession took place in an office environment, where conversations could flow easily, colleagues could be observed, and learning could take place by osmosis. During the pandemic this has not been possible and we have had to adapt to new teaching methods to ensure that junior lawyers continue to learn and gain practical experience.
The way we interact with our colleagues and customers has changed significantly, moving from a more formal meeting setting to a more relaxed one.
Qualifying courses for trademark attorneys moved online during the pandemic, but have now reverted to traditional classroom learning in recognition of the benefits of face-to-face teaching. In-person learning also makes it easier to meet and build relationships with student industry peers.
What are the significant challenges currently facing the profession and brand owners?
In virtually every industry and business, sustainability is a key factor influencing the purchasing decisions of more and more consumers. Companies try to reduce the negative impact they have on the environment or society, even if it requires significant investment.
Building a brand that incorporates sustainability is vital. However, creating and maintaining an environmentally conscious brand image requires significant resources, and companies face the challenge of delivering the right message while complying with increasing regulations. Part of our role is to work with brand owners to get the right message across and to ensure that their investment and efforts to increase sustainability are captured and protected in their intellectual property.
Brexit continues to impact our profession as we navigate new procedures and begin to better understand the impact and practicalities of Brexit on EU trademark rights. Prior to Brexit, UK and EU trade mark law was harmonized, which meant that it was possible to file a single trade mark application covering the whole of the EU, including the UK. Consequently, Brexit has caused a great deal of uncertainty for brand owners and their lawyers, and we are now ensuring that the necessary steps and strategic decisions have been taken to protect our clients’ intellectual property.
If you had to give advice to a new trademark consultant to develop their career in the profession, what would it be?
As trademark attorneys, we are fortunate to work in a fast-paced and dynamic environment that offers many learning opportunities. When these opportunities arise, stepping forward to get involved in projects or meetings – if only to observe – can be invaluable. In my experience, working with as many people as possible expands knowledge and experience, as everyone works differently and has different strengths and skills.
In addition to learning and understanding the law, take the time to learn and truly understand a client’s business, including its customers, structure, goals and ambitions. This will ensure that your advice is more valuable and business-focused and will help build strong client relationships.
Take advantage of industry associations and events, which provide an opportunity to meet industry professionals and learn and share legal knowledge and experience. It can also help raise your profile within the IP community.
Beverly Robinson, Senior Partner
Appleyard Lees IP LLP
1 East Parade, Leeds, LS1 2AD, United Kingdom
Such. : +44 01132 465353
Email: [email protected]
Beverly Robinson is a registered trademark attorney and senior partner of the intellectual property law firm Appleyard Lees IP LLP. She has experience in contentious and non-contentious trademark, design and copyright matters and acts for a wide range of clients in a variety of industries including technology, retail , fashion and beauty. Beverley’s practice includes the filing, prosecution, litigation and enforcement of intellectual property rights. Beverley is a member of the Chartered Institute of Trade Mark Attorneys and of the ECTA Legal Committee.
Appleyard Lees is a leading intellectual property law firm with over 60 patent and trademark attorneys and litigators. The team brings extensive sector and industry knowledge and offers a full range of IP services, including initial strategy and scoping, litigation and post-grant support, in the event of litigation or disputes. other problems. Working with some of the world’s most exciting innovators, biggest companies and household names, the company supports a wide range of intellectual property owners and creators, including in-house teams, R&D specialists, owners- managers and brand professionals.