World IP Day: Five questions with our female CJCH experts

Three female intellectual Property specialists at CJCH Solicitors are offering an insight into their rewarding careers to mark World IP Day.

Data and intellectual property specialist Ana Kocmut-Saunders, Anti-Piracy and Licence Compliance manager Anna Krajewska, and Anti-Piracy and Business Intelligence specialist researcher and supervisor Charlotte Bardet are speaking out to mark the worldwide initiative on April 26.

This year’s event will see people coming together to celebrate the impact of Women in Innovation and Creativity globally. This year’s theme aims to highlight the remarkable and life-enhancing achievements of women working to drive progression across the IP and life science industries.

To celebrate the day, all three team members at CJCH Solicitors and CJCH Consulting have explained why they chose a career in intellectual property, the most common IP misconceptions, and their thoughts on gender inclusivity in IP.

Ana Kocmut-Saunders

Data and IP specialist, Commercial Law team

Why did you decide to enter IP profession?

I grew up in a very creative environment. My grandad was a known artist who designed postage stamps and bank notes for former Yugoslavia, my parents were involved in music and antiques, and my sister is an architect.

Consequently, I learned from very young age to understand and appreciate creativity.

However, I always wanted to be a lawyer, and hence I have chosen an area of law that is closest to originality and innovation.

Before I joined CJCH Solicitors, I worked as an in-house lawyer for a leading Microsoft Gold partner that had developed its own IP to enhance the standard product offering. It was here I discovered how dynamic IP law is and how valuable IP can be for a business.

What is the one key piece of advice you’d always give to clients about IP?

IP is one of the most important financial assets of any business. It can potentially make up more than 40% of an average business value. It is an item on the balance sheet that will present itself in the short-to-midterm as a ROI, but going forward it can generate pure profit.

What is the one misconception clients always have about IP?

I would say that there are some misconceptions about IP. Organisations or individuals are not aware of all forms of IP that can support and protect their businesses, for example customer lists should be regarded as a trade secret.

Initially, it can be hard for them to understand the value of their IPR, especially the ones that are difficult to identify, such as know-how and already mentioned customer lists. They may also struggle to see how they can effectively exploit their IP.

At the outset, IP enables individuals and organisations to separate their products and/ or services from their competitors and to make it easier for them, if necessary, to prove their ownership.

Do you think IP profession is more inclusive in 2018?

IP has always been an all-encompassing area of law that requires experts from different professions to work together as a team. If you are in an IP profession, you need to walk a mile in your client’s shoes in order to understand your client’s business and meet your client’s needs.

Globalisation and rapid developments in technology in recent years have profoundly changed the way businesses operate. CJCH recognised this shift in the market early on and as a forward-looking law firm CJCH has responded to these new market conditions by embracing technology, and by employing people with different sets of skills from different professions. This bespoke approach has enabled CJCH to successfully tackle and prevent web-based copyright infringements.

Why do you think it is important to celebrate IP Day?

From a business perspective, it is important to raise awareness of all the different forms of IP, the best way for organisations and individuals to protect their IP and to exploit benefits of monopoly rights.

Nonetheless, by celebrating IP we celebrate and encourage originality, creativity and innovation as driving forces in our lives.

Anna Krajewska

Anti-Piracy and Licence Compliance manager

Why did you decide to enter the IP profession?

I worked for 10 years at the Polish Railways specialising in domestic and international transportation law, and joining CJCH in 2017 was a new challenging chapter in my career.

Having no bespoke academic background in Intellectual Property, I was offered a unique opportunity to gain my experience by “doing”.

CJCH with its extensive offer of IP related services, including among others IP management, IP commercialisation and IP rights protection turned out to be indeed, a perfect place to gain experience in this area of expertise.

Being part of the Anti-Piracy and Compliance Department has allowed me to observe IP “in action” first hand.

What IP services does CJCH offer?

At Anti-Piracy and Compliance we identify potential IP infringements through our thorough research and then follow up with a mediation process of license compliance.

In the case of innovative software development, IP is the most precious asset and our task is to help our clients to recover their loss of revenue due to piracy.

What is the one key piece of advice you’d always give to clients about IP?

I agree with the opinion that IP is not so much about law as it is about business. It exists to serve and protect client’s genuine business assets. This is one of the reasons why seeking legal advice could be of crucial importance regardless of the size of the company.

What is the one misconception clients always have about IP?

Quite often a client might be confused about what trade mark, copyright or patents mean. Helping the client to understand the differences between the definitions, and how they are used, will substantially help decide which form of IP might be best for their business.

From the commercial point of view, IP rights allow to differentiate client’s business from their competition and might be a very useful tool to attract investors as well.

Why do you think it is important to celebrate IP Day?

Despite the growing awareness of IP within societies, there is still room for improvement.

For instance, according to 2017 EUIPO report “European Citizens and Intellectual Property. Perception, awareness and behavior” 97% of respondents believe it is important that inventors, creators and performing artists can protect their rights and be paid for their work.

However, 10 % of respondents admitted accessing content from illegal online sources intentionally, and especially among the group aged 15-24 the number was significantly higher: 27% !

I believe celebrating IP Day is a great opportunity to highlight the value of IP and to help to raise awareness of piracy. Building respect for IP from the youngest age should be one of the main goals of public and private sector as well as civil society.

Charlotte Bardet

Supervisor, Anti-Piracy research and Business Intelligence team

Why did you decide to enter the IP profession?

Although I have always found this area particularly interesting, with the ever increasing dependency on data and technology in business, I had never really thought about or intended on entering the IP profession.

When selecting my optional modules for the Legal Practice Course (LPC), and over much deliberation, I ended up opting for Mergers and Acquisitions over IP.

However, on completing the LPC, a position as Researcher on the Anti-Piracy and Compliance team at CJCH opened up and I grabbed the opportunity to work at such a vibrant and forward-thinking firm.

I remember thinking how ahead of the game CJCH seemed to be compared to other law firms with regard to its approach to IP. The truth is that I didn’t even know the half of it at the time. The more I work in the IP profession, the more I realise how much there is to learn, but also how much there is to advise clients on.

What is the one key piece of advice you’d always give to clients about IP?

I think my one piece of advice would be to always be cautious with your intellectual property – protect it as early on as possible. In doing so, the key is to be proactive as well as reactive, and to anticipate any obstacles as far as possible.

What is the one misconception clients always have about IP?

The main misconception I’ve come across is clients thinking that IP can be protected at all costs. Particularly with the GDPR coming in, companies need to be aware of the repercussions this can have in trying to enforce its IP rights against individuals. This is why it is so important to protect intellectual property from the outset and handling any breach with care.

Do you think the IP profession is more inclusive in 2018?

As a newcomer to the field, I don’t know whether I can say IP is more inclusive in 2018. However, my experience so far has included working with very intelligent and strong women across all levels of management, including our Trainee Solicitor, Ana, and our Head of the Compliance and Enforcement team, Ania.

CJCH as a whole encourages a very inclusive environment, with Jacqui Seal as Senior Partner and Jodi Winter as Head of Department for Family and Children Law, just to name a few.

What IP services does CJCH offer?

CJCH Consulting includes our Anti-Piracy and Compliance department, which carries out research and compliance work for several clients, including Dassault Systèmes and Verosoft.

This work entails building cases against companies and other legal entities who breach our clients’ copyrighted IP, thus enforcing copyright laws across Europe, the Middle East and North Africa. Our team includes experts from various fields, and speaking over 20 languages across the department, all apply their diverse skills in order to combat IP crime for our clients.

Why do you think it is important to celebrate IP Day?

It’s important to celebrate IP Day to raise awareness. I think in a lot of people’s minds IP crime is still thought of as a tangible thing, such as pirated DVDs and fake Pravda handbags.

Although this is still a problem confronted by law enforcement around the world, increasingly, the majority of intellectual property, and breaches thereof, are taking place in the world of the intangibles.

This makes recognising what IP is, tracing where it goes and enforcing any IP rights more and more difficult.

For more from the CJCH IP team, see their page and contact information here.

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