Which aspects of your work do you enjoy most and why?
In intellectual property, every day is a new day and a new thought process. While your task is to find solutions, there can be multiple options. Therefore, you need to optimise and find the most effective ones. Effectiveness can involve time, cost, opportunities or a combination of all three. Dealing with new industries and technologies requires a fresh mindset and new approach. Hence, there is scope for increasing creativity, effectiveness and innovation. I like being the one who has to balance my clients’ goals with maximum efficacy and offer out-of-the-box solutions.
What are the biggest challenges currently facing your trademark clients and how can these be overcome?
Challenges vary. Some clients have an issue with counterfeiting, some with parallel imports, some with intermediary liabilities involving platforms, some with issues on registrability or enforceability. The bottom line is to protect the business and optimise intellectual property. We must amalgamate legal with business solutions so that brands prosper and build value. Each problem is different and while experiences matter, new approaches have to be considered. If you start behaving like the business itself, rather than one unit of it, you can combine your approach with the best solutions. Keep yourself apprised of new laws, approaches, businesses, needs, priorities and human psychology to become a good adviser.
How do you work with clients to establish the most cost-effective solution for their IP needs?
The legal services industry has transformed drastically by moving from physical to completely virtual processes. E-filing, e-hearing, virtual courts – we are already moving towards a fast-paced future. We have adopted and embraced a modern outlook, with technologically advanced and highly adaptive systems that match those of our valued international clients. We have created an ecosystem of innovation, a scalable infrastructure and a solution-oriented approach of leveraging our IT capabilities. We have deployed internationally benchmarked applications, providing added extensions to our services.
We also create bespoke commercial value propositions to cater to unique industry needs, especially during the pandemic.
With more and more consumers turning to e-commerce, how should key stakeholders work together to protect IP rights in this environment?
E-commerce creates more opportunities than challenges. However, brands must deal with counterfeits and lookalikes, and ensure that the brand story stays alive in a congested digital space. Brands will be exposed to more competition than ever before. Social media influence will play an important role, as more and more brands become subject to crowd behaviour, which can be persuasive even where those in the crowd are not necessarily consumers. Globalisation is also enabling more e-branding. The result will be a stronger brand influence among platforms where brands are hosted. Some of these will influence – whether favourably or otherwise – brand identity, brand stories, goodwill, reputation, monetisation, collaborations, brand enforcement and dilution.
How do you envisage the brand protection landscape in India evolving in the next five years?
In the next five years India will enjoy substantial growth in the brand protection space through the help of AI. It is a game-changing technology that is bound to have a significant impact on IP law. Since time immemorial, the administrative tasks of an IP law firm have been time consuming and generally manual. With the advent of AI-based technologies and the deployment of automation tools, significant data processing can be carried out efficiently, accurately and almost instantaneously, saving law firms a huge amount of time and money. The time saved can be utilised by IP professionals to innovate comprehensive and strategic solutions for businesses and to generate business insights by analysing this readily processed data. This in turn can give a business a competitive advantage by providing it with a plan of action.
Safir Anand, a leading IP attorney with over 25 years’ experience, believes that this is the starting point of intellectual property. He has dedicated himself to exploring facets of monetisation, developing business models, fine-tuning returns on advertising, creating industry specialisations for his firm, working with R&D teams to create product prototypes and co-establishing a covid-19 fund for artisans in India. The Financial Times, London, Business World India and Forbes are among those that have recognised him as an innovative professional.