Creativity knows no bounds, and very rightly, it needs to be protected. This is where the IP Protection law comes in the game. Any of the artistic creations, works of literature, designs, etc. are protected by the law in forms of patents, or copyrights and trademarks. These IP Protection laws enable people to earn recognition or financial benefits from their creations.
Providing end-to-end legal solutions is Anand & Anand IP Law Firm. The firm is professionally managed by a Partnership board comprising 27 Partners and 4 Directors, supported by a management team.
“I realized Intellectual Property is a progressive field where a lawyer is exposed to new innovations, concepts, brand advertisements, ideas from diversified industries and, thus, as the calling met the requirement, I became an Intellectual Property Lawyer and joined the Firm.”
The firm partners with their clients to create, protect, enforce and leverage their intangible assets. With a vibrant team of 300 members including over 100 lawyers and engineers who are specialists in various practice areas relating to intellectual property and beyond, Anand & Anand is a leading IP Law firm today.
Initially, the Firm had a good practice before the courts but there was a lot of work that could have been done on the side of (a) brand creation; (b) risk mitigation; (c) licensing and franchising; (d) protecting the brand from dilution; e) commercialization and monetization. The primary challenges were that many clients perceived legal to be an expense and only resorted to legal advice when in trouble. The legal advice had to be pro-active and not reactive and a lawyer should be a client’s friend to scale up his business and not only to get him out of trouble. It is always difficult to create a slot in un-defined territories as people find it difficult to come out of the comfort zone but the good part is one good act leads to another.
The pursuits of solutions have to be multi-dimensional since the client has several aspects under consideration right from finance to marketing, to deadlines, to risk to reward, to cultural and corporate issues. Within all this, the solution still has to be legally acceptable under the laws and practice. In order to accomplish this, a lawyer has to read to understand businesses and inculcate a lot of positivity in order to put forth a strategy with an optimist mind. At the same time, since the risk is not taught as a subject in school, colleges or in law, he has to anticipate risk from the strategic perspective and in-built protection within the tools of law as provided.
In today’s time when even Fortune 500 companies have a lifespan of 15 years and business models are undergoing a rapid transformation and exposed to mass destruction, it has become necessary to address issues of business models, corporate governance and ethics and give business tools that maximize the return on investment in Intellectual Property. For this, the area of focus is now shifting to industry-specific vertical. Thus, the knowledge required to cater to pharmaceutical clients and to understand chemical compounds, brand derivatives, etc. is very different from the knowledge required to cater to a fast-moving consumer company where marketing and customer experience are paramount. The experience is so very different for start-ups which want protection and layer around business models but are cash strapped. It is also very different for industry such as fashion or entertainment where there is a lot of Intellectual Property but inadequate measures of protection.
The modern challenge now is to become industry-specific and to keep increasing your knowledge specialization within that industry.
Their Service Portfolio-
The law firm traditionally offered services around Intellectual Property Protection and enforcement, however, with the passage of time they have expanded into two ways:
- They undertook upstream and downstream diversification and ventured into the areas of IP creation, IP commercialization, and IP monetization.
- The scope of IP has expanded significantly and the firm covers almost all intangibles such as advertising, Data protection, Packaging Laws, Content, etc.
The concept of service is always a dynamic one which draws from the clients’ needs. Earlier, when India was substantially disconnected with the rest of the world because of factors including time, lack of awareness, connectivity, etc., the focus was to ensure responsiveness. It was also to share with clients the kinds of legal reliefs available in Intellectual Property so as to become an available and efficient service provider. Today with substantial innovation and destruction and the convergence of business with law the need is more towards quick, time saving and a basket of efficient solutions so that the business can be catapulted on to the path of growth with least risk involved and the highest governance in place.
Having a razor-sharp focus on the client’s needs and being solution-oriented form the kernel of their success formula. For instance, they have obtained more than 1500 successful opposition orders in the year 2018-19.
Secondly, not only do they protect creativity and innovation, but it also forms the very core of their DNA. Consequently, they have had a very large number of pioneering achievements or “firsts” to the credit of the firm.
“I believe that every client who meets me is like a partner and I have to venture with him to give him the best possible solution.”
Experience at Hands- Case Studies
In Safir Anand’s practice career, there have been several phases. In phase 1 there were many instances where the firm had to convince the Trademark Office on distinctiveness since many of the marks involved foreign marks which were not doing business in India or were well recognized to draw analogies from case laws. Unfortunately, the precedents of reported case laws on distinctiveness were scarce and consequently, lot of innovative thinking went in several matters. This caused them, as a firm, to be the first to protect the colour mark, sound mark (Yahoo), to have the first declaration of the well-known trademark for FORD and the shape mark (Zippo). Further, in one of the cases, the firm successfully argued that reputation and goodwill in a mark can also be considered post the date of filing of the applications as distinctiveness is not static but dynamic. Similarly, to get the first .com registration the Trade Marks Office had to be convinced of the difference between a trademark and a domain name since they construed the .com part to nullify a trademark claim. In one of the matters handled by the firm, they had to take training at the Trade Marks Office in Chennai to explain the concept of character merchandising and to showcase through video presentation how fictitious characters were highly distinctive. Recently, they succeeded in getting the building of the famous Taj Hotel protected as a trademark and all of these have been important matters before the Trade Marks Office.
“I strongly believe in the power of human mind and that is one is able to fulfil one’s potential. The external environment and competition become meaningless. The only challenge is to become a better version of oneself.”
Safir Anand’s Professional Experience-
Safir advises and acts for clients from diverse industries ranging from FMCG, Pharma, Software, Social Media, Food industry, Media, Sports, Entertainment, Luxury and Fashion, Government Bodies and more. He very actively works as an IP advisor and work towards providing Inputs towards strategy, Business models, Marketing and Commercial Insights blended with an astute understanding of the IP law that covers ; IP Protection, IP Enforcement – Civil and Criminal; Contractual IP – Agreements, Licensing, Franchising, Monetization, Strategic Advisory and Due Diligence.
He has taken several initiatives to create IP awareness across all segments and levels that have been widely reported by media. His focus is to unleash the power of intangibles and nurture the untapped IP potential through specialized IP services.
Safir is a member of INTA “Brand Value-Special Task Force” Constituting of very selective members to examine the complexities involved in the subject of “Brand Valuation”. He has recently joined the Board of directors of:
- BrandMusiq to strategize on Mogo (Musical Logo) and Sonic Branding
- Board of Directors of JHS Brands limited as Additional Director.
- Board of Directors of National advisory council of EEMA.