What key takeaways have you learned about effective management in your role as managing partner over the past 13 years?
To go from a company of several people to one of the largest IP law firms in Poland with more than 100 employees, four offices and a broad portfolio of cases and clients required a different approach to management. We had to build a team of talented IP practitioners, paralegals and assistants, as well as managers who would support business development.
We also had to cooperate with reliable foreign agents in various jurisdictions, as we represent clients in proceedings around the world.
Providing a full range of high-quality services that exceed client expectations is one of our goals and can only be achieved if employees have the opportunity to develop professionally, gain new qualifications and exchange knowledge and experiences.
The role of managing partner can be demanding. On top of the usual work for clients, it requires strategic planning, coordination and management tasks. Therefore, you need to learn quickly, manage your time well and have excellent listening skills. Effective firm management also requires the use of modern working methods and IT tools, which facilitate case handling and communication regardless of time zone and location.
As an arbitrator for ‘.pl’ and ‘.eu’ domain names, what steps should rights holders take to secure a domain name settlement that benefits them?
Arbitration, mediation and settlement are cost and time-effective dispute resolution methods.
I have worked as an arbitrator before the arbitration courts as well as a court mediator. In the course of both proceedings, it is possible to institute settlement negotiations. However, there is no ‘golden mean’ to guarantee a settlement. In mediation proceedings, the mediator’s role is to support the parties in developing a solution that satisfies them both – this constitutes the essence of the settlement. The settlement is then subject to approval by a common court, which should append an enforcement clause, making it possible to enforce the agreement’s provisions if they are not respected by either party.
As well as advising companies on IP matters, you also provide strategic advice on corporate law and commercial transactions. How do you stay on top of developments in multiple areas while providing the highest quality advice to clients?
Providing high-quality professional services requires constant self-development, which should follow the changing needs of customers, market conditions, sectors and markets. Customers are looking for business advisers and expect knowledge that goes beyond our legal background. For me, legal advice is part of the business process that supports companies in implementing their strategies. IP rights are tools to support a company’s development, strengthen its market position and gain a competitive advantage. Besides legal knowledge, strategic counselling requires a good understanding of a client’s business and industry.
You have been actively involved in a number of industry associations and are now the president of the Polish Chamber of Patent and Trademark Attorneys. Why is engagement in IP organisations important for professional development?
Membership of international associations can be an inspiring experience. It provides an opportunity to broaden your knowledge and skills by participating in specialised committees, discussion panels and conferences. It is also an opportunity to share experiences and develop new legislative solutions and good practices. It facilitates networking and business cooperation, and creates an opportunity to travel, meet interesting people and make friends.
At the Polish Chamber of Patent and Trademark Attorneys we take steps to improve the qualifications of our members and train new attorneys. We promote our profession and participate in the legislative process. I hope that, through this engagement, knowledge of IP matters will increase and Polish entrepreneurs will use the services of IP attorneys more frequently, as advisers supporting the development of their businesses.
What emerging trends do you hope to see shaping IP innovation in more traditional markets over the coming years?
Rapid advancements in the electronics and IT industries, as well as network solutions, will continue to shape IP innovation. Attorneys and clients will increasingly use online platforms and IT tools to support management and communication. There will also be more multidisciplinary innovative solutions combining various fields of technology and science (eg, in medicine, nanotechnology and biotechnology).
E-commerce will also develop. Therefore, the issue of protecting intellectual property online will become more important. We may also expect more innovative solutions to combat climate change related to green technology, food production and pharmaceuticals.
Dorota Rzążewska is managing partner at JWP, one of the leading IP law firms in Poland. She is an experienced attorney at law, Polish and European patent and trademark attorney, court mediator and arbitrator before the internet domain name arbitration courts. Ms Rzążewska provides business-focused strategic advice on all aspects of IP law and specialises in trademark and patent litigation, as well as anti-counterfeiting. She also advises on corporate and competition law and transactions.
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