Grau & Angulo
"You must always be one step ahead"
You have been with Grau & Angulo since its foundation in 2003. Looking back, what are the key takeaways to ensure that a firm stays at the forefront of industry needs and service requirements?
In my view, providing tailored services to every client while maintaining a uniform style and quality standards across the firm are the key to a long-term, successful relationship with our clients.
As an IP boutique, we work with clients operating in a wide range of sectors, which have evolved over the years.
In order to maintain top-quality services for those clients, we have come to learn everything about not only their business (their particular policies, priorities and problem areas), but also their sectors and competitors.
This comprehensive knowledge of our clients’ businesses allows us to adapt our services to their individual needs in each particular case.
In terms of your own practice, which spans trademarks, designs, copyright and unfair competition, what tips can you share about how to remain at the forefront of broad industry developments?
A broad IP-related practice allows you to analyse a case from various angles and assess the most suitable strategy. You have to consider the specific circumstances, because even though trademarks, designs, copyright and unfair competition have their own particularities, they are also interconnected.
Therefore, to be at the forefront of the industry, you not only need to be up to date on the legislative and case law developments in each particular field, but also need to be innovative in figuring out how the progress made in one field can benefit others.
What qualities make for an elite-level litigator in the Spanish IP field, and how can these be honed?
You must always be one step ahead and must never underestimate your opponent.
Even the strongest case has its hidden flaws. Therefore, you have to work closely with your client to fully understand the circumstances of the case and the parties involved, in order to predict any possible setbacks.
Thinking outside the box is also a must.
Law and jurisprudence are not immutable but are gradually adapting to the realities of society and the market.
If you have a landmark case at hand, you must trust your instinct and work hard to reason your arguments and fight for them.
How are client demands changing and what effect has this had on your practice?
Clients’ current demands focus on immediacy and effectiveness. Therefore, when facing a new case, we try to put ourselves in the client’s shoes, looking for creative and practical solutions according to the circumstances.
Complex legal matters are still a priority for which clients look to top firms and practitioners. However, in cases that are not a priority for their business, clients are not interested in elaborate legal analysis, but rather in quick and cost-effective solutions.
What makes a difference at our firm is being able to understand and satisfy both types of need to the same quality of standards, while having the means and resources to adapt our services to the complexity of the task at hand.
Finally, what advice would you give to younger practitioners who are embarking on a career in the trademark field?
My advice would be to be passionate about what they do, to learn from their seniors and not be afraid of sharing their own thoughts and ideas.
Finally, never settle for mediocracy; they should work hard and force themselves to do their best.
Sonia Santos is a partner at Grau & Angulo. Her main practice areas include trademarks, designs, copyright, unfair competition and new technology. She provides litigation and advice to a predominantly international client base. Renowned for her cross-border work, she deals in sectors including fashion and accessories, household goods, luxury brands and telecoms.
Ms Santos obtained an LLM in intellectual property from Queen Mary University of London. She speaks Spanish and English.
Click here to see her WTR 1000 2019 profile.