The importance of local IP awareness

An awareness of the importance of
intellectual property (IP) rights as
assets to Iberian companies may
not be common, but there are
essential issues common to any company
embarking on an IP enforcement program,
says Alejandro Angulo, partner at Grau &
Angulo.

Las empresas deben
reconocer el valor
inherente de su activo
en forma de propiedad
intelectual y considerar
las estrategias que
ofrecen la capacidad no
sólo de proteger sino
también de aplicar sus
derechos, afirma
Alejandro Angulo, socio
de Grau & Angulo.

Lo
que esto supone es
poder disponer de
profesionales
especializados capaces
de proteger estos
activos en todas partes
del mundo.

'The first need is to be able to act locally,
to maintain close relations and a permanent
flow of communication with the relevant
government agencies – customs, police and
courts – and to work with a team that has
extensive experience and contacts at these
levels.'

But such an approach he emphasises does
not require a focus on a specific commercial
centre because what is relevant is where the
infringers are located and where the
infringement takes place.

When it comes to enforcement, it is usual
that the strategy and decision making is
centralised; but, at the same time it is vital to
have someone 'on the field' to deal with
issues as they arise, he says.

'There is a prevailing trend among
multinationals towards the centralisation of
IP portfolio management and enforcement
decision-making, but at the same time to
have a local presence able to manage day-today
issues, and that may be either in-house
or through a local adviser.'

Where local counsel is instructed, clients
need to ensure that firms have the necessary
expertise, experience, number of actual IP
specialists and commercial awareness.

'Firms need of course to be specialist, but
also to have enough critical mass and to offer
the necessary level of organisation. The
important thing is not only the IP knowledge
and know-how, but also the client care and
any specific way of rendering services
required by the client, including being
capable of dealing with the central legal
function,' says Angulo.

Iberian companies particularly, he
suggests, need to recognise the importance of
their IP and to recognise the lack of
competitiveness that can result from an
insufficient enforcement strategy.

'There is value in creating a protection
and enforcement strategy specific to the
company's problems, and in having a
specialised in-house IP team,' he says.

The importance of local IP awareness

Garcia-Sicilia

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