Q: Can you tell us about your firm (size, practice focuses, key individuals, geographical locations, etc)?
A: Zacco is a multinational cutting-edge IP consultancy employing almost 500 IP professionals, which is based primarily in Scandinavia, but has a rapidly growing international presence. Outside Scandinavia, Zacco operates from offices in Germany (Munich and Bremen) and the United Kingdom (Birmingham), as well as India (Bangalore), where we have employed more than 50 colleagues over the past 12 months.
Apart from traditional IP and legal services, Zacco offers a seamless integration of digital branding, cyber security, software development services, business services and portfolio outsourcing, which we define as “360 intellectual property” (not just “IP rights”).
Key individuals at Zacco (Denmark and Norway only) include: Mats Boström (CEO); Hans Christian Nielsen (regional and patent director, Denmark); Thomas Mølsgaard (legal and trademark director, Denmark); Lone Prehn (senior partner, trademarks, Denmark); Fabio Pezzolato (partner, trademarks, Denmark); Stig H Ekmann (partner, legal and trademarks, Denmark); Henrik Jespersen (partner, trademarks, Denmark); Heidi Rehné (senior partner, trademarks, Denmark); Thor B Mosaker (regional director, Norway); Tom Ekeberg (senior partner, patents, Norway); Anne Sønstevold (senior partner, patents, Norway); Steiner Lie (partner, legal, Norway); Hans Langan (senior partner, patents, Norway); and Jon Arne Holm (senior partner, patents, Norway).
Q: The firm won awards in multiple jurisdictions – how do you maintain quality of service offerings across different offices?
A: The main reason for Zacco’s coherent quality of service offerings across our 29 offices is the full alignment and integration of both our IT systems and our ways of working, which are ISO 9000 compliant.
To further increase client value, we have set up inter-regional and industry-leading specialist teams, which aim to support our clients in maximising the return of investment in intellectual property with due regard to their businesses.
Q: As well as trademark prosecution and other IP offerings, the firm offers a suite of digital brand services. Do you feel rights holders are sufficiently focused on online brand presence and how is this evolving?
A: In our experience, most rights holders are still focusing their digital brand strategies around securing registration of pertinent domain names and enforcing against cybersquatters. Zacco offers a much wider scope of services, especially with regard to IP enforcement (monitoring and takedown of online infringements), as well as the ever-growing issue of cybercrime and the importance of data security and compliance with the EU General Data Protection Regulation.
Q: Over the past couple of years, there has been a swathe of changes to practice as a result of the European trademark reforms. What impact have these had on your team and its strategic approach to trademarks?
A: The impact has been limited, as Zacco has – to a wide degree – already adapted its strategic approach to reflect the high number of international filings and advanced strategic advice that we supply. The main difference has been to the team, as we have employed even more industry-leading individuals from both bureaus and law firms.
Q: What do you think are the big trends that will affect trademark professionals over the next few years?
A: The big trends will be digitalisation and the subsequent increase in competition, as well as the demand for top-quality advice, as even more businesses will file for trademarks both domestically and internationally.
Q: AI has been a big talking point over the past year – what impact do you feel it will have on trademark practice?
A: AI will lead to increased competition and a greater need for highly skilled professionals to handle more complex matters and strategic decisions.
Q: How does your team keep abreast of the latest legal developments in the trademark world?
A: Zacco’s professionals are undergoing extensive internal and external trademark, legal and business advice training in order to maintain and expand their knowledge and competences.
Q: What qualities make for a successful trademark attorney?
A: Apart from deep professional knowledge of trademark law and strategy, a profound business and general legal understanding allows for effective and creative advice, taking the client’s short and long-term interests into account.
Q: What do you most enjoy about working in the trademark space?
The constantly evolving legal area and the importance of accurate (often dynamic) advice.
Q: Finally, if you could make one change to the trademark world, what would it be?
A: More aligned national trademark office practices around the world.