“Congratulations and my very best wishes for BOIP’s 50th birthday! For every birthday - and certainly a special one like a 50th - it’s a good idea to take a moment to pause, to reflect a little on the past and look forward to the future.” Carina Gommers is a trademark lawyer. Here she takes a look with us at the profession and intellectual property law.
“What strikes me when I look back is that in recent years, for me, intellectual property rights have occupied a significant part of my work every day. At the start, my career in intellectual property law was not specifically set out in detail or planned out. The first time I encountered trademark law was during a summer internship at Linklaters (ed., international law firm). At the time I had no idea whether I wanted to become a lawyer, let alone an expert in trademark law or intellectual property law.”
Intellectual property law contributes to consumer confidence
“Now - all this time later - I know it was the right choice. On the one hand, that's because I’m passionate about intellectual property law, but on the other, it's also because it's an important branch of law for society. Intellectual property rights bring value to businesses. They contribute to consumer confidence in products and services, and they encourage innovation, job creation and many other things. Those who work in intellectual property law, in other words lawyers, company lawyers, trademark office employees, etc., know that only too well. Studies also repeatedly confirm it, time and time again.”
Studies confirm it: intellectual property rights bring value to businesses. They contribute to consumer confidence in products and services, and they encourage innovation, job creation and many other things.
Convey our knowledge further to the wider public
“When I look to the future, I think that we have to take care to convey that knowledge, the relevance and the significance of intellectual property rights, further to the wider public. By that, I mean supporting businesses in their development, convincing consumers about the importance of authentic products, informing magistrates so they take the right decisions, which means decisions that are not only important for the rule of law, but also that take into consideration the importance for society as a whole.”
Doing nothing is not an option
“If we do nothing and withdraw back into our bubble, the future for intellectual property rights will be a difficult one, I fear. We are increasingly seeing more counterfeit products, for example, despite action taken by trademark owners. Courts are also seeing a trend in some cases towards less value and protection being afforded to intellectual property. Today, intellectual property rights are being critically examined because people think they only serve the needs of big international companies. Some of that criticism stems from lack of awareness, because protecting intellectual property is undoubtedly important for smaller businesses too.”
“Thankfully, we’re already seeing various initiatives, from trademark offices like BOIP among others, that are aimed at increasing that awareness. I really welcome those kinds of initiatives because they mean, hopefully, that intellectual property rights will still be alive for the next 50 years at least.”
Proud heritage, bright future
BOIP is 50! We are using this anniversary as an opportunity to pause and look back over our rich past. And to show that we are looking forward to the future. Under the motto ‘Proud heritage, bright future’, we take you back over 50 years of intellectual property (IP). In these guest blogs, IP professionals tell us how they look back in the past or how they see the future.