Sala de Prensa

6 noviembre, 2012

‘IP, IT & Life Sciences Special Report: Driving the economy’, with Juan Salmerón, partner of IP law at ECIJA, remarks

Formerly departments that were seen by law firms as ‘nice to haves’, IP and IT departments are fast becoming  the ‘must haves’. The two sectors are key areas of opportunity in the crisis, say lawyers, especially as today’s economy is being driven by the world of technology.

Los departamentos de Propiedad Intelectual y Nuevas Tecnologías, han pasado de ser un área de apoyo a áreas estratégicas en las firmas de abogados. Las dos áreas de derecho presentan oportunidades en contextos de crisis, afirman los expertos en este reportaje anual, especialmente cuando todo negocio tiende a desarrollarse y a comercializar con herramientas tecnológicas.

If one mentions ‘business’ and ‘drivers’ in the context of today’s global economy, say lawyers, the response is more likely than not, ‘innovation’ and ‘technology’. The corporate world is far more knowledgeable than ever before, and lawyers predict that over the coming years almost every company will have to focus its business on the Internet and new technologies.
The crisis therefore is bringing new opportunities for law firms. This is particularly true in IP, since the economic foundations of the Iberian market are drastically changing towards innovation, creativity and knowledge, says João Miranda, Head of the IP practice at Garrigues in Spain. This will open new horizons to IP specialists as companies start navigating the waters of a different economy. The same can be said for the IT sector, where lawyers are seeing the steady emergence of new services or ways of delivering existing ones.

IP and IT are therefore firmly at the forefront of driving Europe’s ailing economies, say lawyers, coming out of the shadows of the more traditional legal sectors and taking the spotlight. And both sectors are also constantly evolving, no more so than over the past year.

Challenging times

It is not only regulations that are changing, and challenging, for the legal sector. “Lawyers are now required to be supermen,” says José Miguel Lissén, IP Senior Associate at Gómez-Acebo & Pombo – “technical experts, and very good at everything”.
Plus, they need to be ‘everywhere’. IP & IT have a clear global scope, and most IP cases involve several jurisdictions. Even a local matter requires knowledge of similar cases in other countries, in particular, in Europe and in the US, says Jorge Llevat, Head of the IP practice at Cuatrecasas, Gonçalves Pereira. “It is a continuous challenge to be up-to-date.”
The same applies to IT. Lawyers are seeing new apps, software and technological devices appearing everyday on the market, which bring with them new guidelines and regulations. Access to information has also spiralled out of governments’ and companies’ control, and they are now in a race to keep up, adds Alejandro Touriño, IT Partner at Ecija. “Across Europe, countries are shifting gears, and we as IP & IT lawyers need to keep on top of developments.”

Opportunities ahead

“This will be an important selling point for IT companies in the coming year.” There is a growing awareness of export opportunities, as companies grow more confident to invest in new products, services and markets, they search to protect their rights too, says Juan Salmerón, IP Partner at Ecija. “IP lawyers need to understand how to exploit the whole range of IP rights through commercial agreements.”

Please read full report here: