For me, it is not about looking at IP as an academic exercise but rather as one that assists clients in building the financial and brand values of their businesses with the application of trade mark law. The intersection of my backgrounds in business and legal fields mean I can add a breadth of thinking and a considered approach to reasoning whilst working on trade mark projects.
Being able to apply your mind to a particular problem and being able to bring all the experience, cases and background you have accumulated over your career to bear on a particular project for a client is hugely rewarding.
Every case is different and whilst there are of course, some similarities from one project to the next, it is the diversity within our client base at Keltie that ensures the variety of workload that all trade mark attorneys enjoy. You do not know where your next case or project will come from, and it is that dynamic mix which makes the day-to-day engaging and refreshing.
We work on goods and services which are tangible, often applicable to and part of our daily lives. We make decisions and judgements in the role of a consumer and apply our skills and experience in a both an objective and subjective way.
The way you can integrate your own personal experiences into how to handle a dispute is something particular to IP - you can insert yourself into a problem and understand how a product fits within a consumer’s world.
Being part of the rationale and reasoning behind a particular product or service and then seeing it in the marketplace is very gratifying, not least as we have a real understanding of the brand strategy.
A brand’s entire reputation can be held within the vessel that is the trade mark. A mark represents all the goodwill a brand builds, everything it makes, all of its marketing - it is the point of reference in the mind of the customer and holds the key to its stature, whether good or bad. Brands have a bottom line power which is even being added to company balance sheets because so much of the financial value of the company is retained within them.
Businesses appreciate the value of their brands and therefore the work we do to help them protect and maintain it. At the end of the day, our work adds tangible, bottom line value to their operations and that is something we take great pride in.
One of the main selling points of a career in trade marks is the relatability of the subject matter you are dealing with and the application of business acumen and law together. The commercial importance of the work we do for clients is huge - we are dealing with customer-facing brands with huge amounts of equity and value every day.
The tangibility of our work is really fulfilling - we all engage with brands daily - they are so much a part of our everyday lives that we take them for granted. The variety of work which comes across your desk, the diversity of clients and their businesses and the elements of the work we undertake on a daily basis mean a career in trade marks is both fulfilling and rewarding.
Within the operations of legal firms more generally, the implementation of new technology is going to be game-changing. Developing software and systems to increase our capabilities will allow us to work more efficiently. Streamlined digital processes are a massive driver of development in the field of IP and there have been a number of significant developments in recent years which have made the way we are able to search and file trade marks, more effective.
We expect to see more consolidation of services with the implementation of technology, meaning that some parts of the process may become fully automated. The more formulaic elements of IP practice may be taken on by AI systems, freeing up attorneys to focus more on service development and delivery. No matter how advanced technology within IP becomes - and without question, it is an area we are likely to see huge growth in - there will always be a need for a human element within the process.
05.12.2023Keltie turns 35: A look back at the journey so far with Sean Cummings
Sean Cummings joined the IP profession in 1986 after graduating with a degree in Engineering Science and Industrial Management. He qualified as a Chartered Patent Attorney and European Patent Attorney in 1992. Sean is also a Trade Mark Attorney qualified to act before the EU, UK and Irish Intellectual Property Offices, and a Professional Representative before the EU's new Unified Patent Court.
19.09.2023Post-Brexit Representation for Trade Marks and Designs Before UKIPO
While the initial effects of Brexit on trade mark and design registrations are baked into our consciousness, one noteworthy aspect will only take effect at the start of next year. Trade mark and design owners should consider appointing a UK address for service to reduce the risk of third-party challenges being successful by default.