A leading IP expert has emphasised the importance of protecting intellectual property as businesses prepare to emerge from the impact of lockdown.
Heather Williams, a Partner at intellectual property (IP) practice Marks & Clerk, advises on all aspects of brand protection and enforcement and is based at the firm’s Avenue HQ office in Leeds.
Since her appointment in early 2020, her focus is on working with the region’s food and drink, fashion and beauty and FMCG sectors to ensure they have locked down and registered intellectual property arising from innovation and diversification, which we have seen in recent months.
She believes that while businesses of all sizes face uncertainty from the impact of the pandemic to future trading relationships with the EU looming large – the value of maintaining and protecting intellectual property rights at this time should not be overlooked.
She said: “Trade marks are monopoly rights – it’s important to ensure they are protected and used correctly to grow market share, which is central to growing any business, and it’s exciting to be working with businesses in Leeds and Yorkshire, and further afield to help them achieve their goals.
“Marks & Clerk is an international firm and is well placed to continue acting for businesses in relation to the protection and enforcement of European trade marks and community design rights, given our well established presence in Europe. The UK has left the EU but Marks & Clerk has not. Our team of trade mark and patent attorneys as well as IP lawyers offer a seamless ‘one stop shop’ and have expertise on advising on all aspects of intellectual property, guiding innovative businesses globally, to ensure their products and brands are protected from infringement and the value of their intellectual property is properly recognised and utilised.
“Leeds and Yorkshire boast an enviable ecosystem for businesses ranging from dynamic start-ups catering to growing rends to well established businesses with deep roots in the region.”
Heather explained: “There are challenges ahead so careful forward planning is a must – making tactical decisions now on IP strategy is important to ensure IP rights are not lost or abandoned during a time when budgets are under pressure. For some, it will be possible to take steps to ‘mothball’ IP and protect the investment they have made.”
She explained that as businesses have been forced to evolve, they have shown great resilience and is looking forward to working with the regions’ businesses as they adapt to the new norm.
Marks & Clerk’s Leeds base at Avenue HQ is the firm’s ninth office in the UK, complementing existing bases in Manchester, Birmingham, Oxford, Cambridge, London, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen. The firm also has overseas offices in locations across Europe, North America and Asia. In 2019 the firm filed 763 UK trade marks, making it the UK’s top trade mark filer. The firm is also a top five filer of EU trade marks, having filed 790 in 2019.