Twenty-one of the 35 lawyers working at Sideman & Bancroft are female, while 12 of the firm’s 21 partners are women. How is diversity and inclusion promoted at your firm and why is it so important?
Sideman & Bancroft is one of the largest women-owned law firms in the United States with two-thirds female attorneys, and the majority of our partners are women. We have made a specific commitment to this goal and strive to create the best conditions for women to thrive. Internally, we also have a diversity committee that orchestrates events and initiatives that promote equity, equality and inclusion. In addition to creating a healthy work-life balance, we believe that this commitment adds a unique, strategic business perspective to our legal work that benefits our clients and aligns us with their values.
Prior to joining Sideman & Bancroft, you practised for 10 years in France, and now work at both the Paris and California bars. What would you say are the main challenges facing clients in these two jurisdictions?
From an IP perspective, one of the major challenges facing clients in both Europe and the United States is the explosion of online infringement and the increasingly difficult task to enforce their rights in a global environment, where infringers can be difficult to identify, prosecute or held accountable. Data protection rules, while essential, have also made it challenging and costly for companies to enforce their rights. Finally, with the effect of globalisation, IP rights violations are now happening on a global scale. This is forcing clients to expand their IP portfolios and enforcement efforts, which increases their protection and enforcement costs.
You previously served as the Trademark Chair on the Advisory Board of the San Francisco Intellectual Property Law Association. What do you believe to be the qualities that contribute to effective leadership?
Good leaders lead by example. If you show your team that you are committed to your work and sensitive and responsive to their needs, they will likely strive to meet your expectations. When I joined the firm almost 10 years ago, we rebuilt a robust mentorship programme, in which each associate is paired with a partner to help interns and associates grow and thrive in their work. This has been a great way to strengthen relationships between colleagues at all levels, increase retention and identify future leaders.
You have represented clients across a range of industries, namely technology, software, publishing, pharmaceutical, entertainment, cosmetics, fashion and food and beverages. How do you stay up to date on developments in multiple markets?
It is crucial to stay updated on legal developments in order to provide clients with effective, accurate and comprehensive services. At Sideman & Bancroft, we are subscribed to multiple legal and industry reviews and online platforms – including Lexology, which I appreciate for its broad range of topics. I meet regularly with clients to provide them with updates on legal developments in their industries and ask about their current activities, so I ensure I am up to date on all aspects of their business. Finally, being a member of various local and international associations – such as the San Francisco Intellectual Property Law Association, the Association of Trademarks and Design Rights Practitioners and UNIFAB (a French manufacturers association) in France and at INTA – has been a great way to stay updated on legal topics and create friendships and connections in the IP community.
As a professional who has worked in both the United States and Europe, what would you say are the strengths and weaknesses of the different approaches to platform liability?
While there are still some differences in the approaches to internet intermediaries’ liability in Europe and the United States, courts and lawmakers have made considerable efforts in the last 15 years to harmonise the liability of these platforms, at least in relation to IP infringement. We face the same challenge on both sides of the Atlantic: protecting and encouraging the creation of content without thwarting the creation of new businesses. It seems that Europe has taken the lead in trying to find solutions to protect copyright, whereas the United States is more perceived to be the champion of innovation and online businesses. While these diverging views could be seen as divisive, they could also be the ground for a healthy debate, which would help us strike the right balance between these equally important values.
Béatrice Martinet, a lawyer at the Paris and California bars, is a partner at Sideman & Bancroft in their Brand Integrity and Innovation group. Ms Martinet manages major trademark portfolios for entities of all sizes, from start-ups to Fortune 500 companies. She represents clients before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board, the USPTO and the equivalent venues in France and Europe.