The first 100 days as a Trade Mark Assistant

09 January 2017

Trade marks pervade all our daily lives, whether it is the branded butter on your morning toast, the brandy butter on your Christmas pudding, or that slight pang of guilt when you pick out your favourite purple embellished chocolate bar at lunchtime!

Trade marks, much like that infectious Yuletide cheer, are all around, connecting people to their favourite brands. They’re GR-R-R-eat! Not only do we engage with them on a daily basis but we attribute feelings to them: familiarity, trust, curiosity, and even a sense of loyalty. Trade marks revolve around human motion and emotion. Since my start with Haseltine Lake, I have been lucky enough to assist the Trade Marks team and study these fascinating intellectual property rights more closely.

My route into IP has been a meandering one. Passionate about creativity, I indulged in an English Literature degree at Royal Holloway, University of London. Two years later I had paddled across the arts pond to legal profession aspirant with my sights set firmly on IP law.

Fresh-faced and bounding with enthusiasm I started applying to law firms offering IP services and IP attorney firms. After finishing your academic career, you often end up having to take a step back from countless hours of research, drafting online application forms and customising your CV for - what feels like - the millionth time. Your ambitions tend to get lost in all the paperwork so it is important for you to halt and reconsider: What am I passionate about? What motivates and inspires me? Where do you want to go today? Asking these questions helps to identify your career path simply because it gets you back to you.

First and foremost, I remembered that trade marks were my passion. As an IP right they are made up of more than just words or logos. To trade mark attorneys and marketing professionals they are imagination at work.

Secondly, as a Belgian national, my ideas for life in general are closely interweaved with Europe so I knew I wanted to work for a firm with a strong European outlook. Moreover, since I had identified my professional specialism early on, I appreciated the paramount importance of consistent training for my future career – because you should never stop improving.

This is how I came across Haseltine Lake, a global firm with a strong European identity and a prestigious portfolio of long-standing clients. Furthermore, the firm offers a designated in-house training scheme (‘HL Academy’) allowing graduates to benefit from attorneys’ expertise and experience. In short, with a passion for IP, it’s everywhere you want to be. I decided to apply to the firm and following an immersive internship in the Bristol office in June 2016, I joined as a Trade Mark Assistant in early September.

They say you never got a second chance to make a first impression, yet on my first day, a happy reunion awaited with the trade mark team. While settling in, I understood that my internship would enable me to hit the ground running. Although the first days were still daunting, everyone was happy to answer questions and offer to help. And in the beginning, really, every little helps! Soon the attorneys started to give me research projects to get stuck into. The majority of the research I do centres on the use of trade marks (what else?). However, I soon came to realise that trade mark attorneys not only deal with applications for registration of trade marks. They also specialise in brand identity, portfolio management and protection and, more importantly still, enforcement because change happens constantly in the IP landscape. In essence, everything we do is driven by you, the consumer. A trade mark team’s bread-and-butter are oppositions and cancellation proceedings. That is where the majority of my research comes in. Whether it is to strengthen a client’s negotiating position or to find and compile evidence of infringement or passing-off online or in publications.

In addition to a variety of research projects, I draft reports and responses to clients and local attorneys in relation to IP office interactions. The firm has many different systems and checks in place to follow up on the numerous deadlines in every case and it is nice to be able to contribute to the bigger picture.

With my first 100 days in retrospect, I realise that, apart from the attorneys’ diligent guidance and the HL Academy training, the best learning experience thus far has been the biennial Formalities and Support Staff Conference held in November. While, generally it’s good to talk to your colleagues and learn from their experience, this conference presented the perfect opportunity to meet with and learn about other teams in the firm as well.

At this point I am facing new and different challenges every day as clients or IP offices around the world consult us about queries, requests or instructions. What I enjoy most about working for Haseltine Lake is that we try harder every day to go above and beyond for our clients by taking on new challenges and thinking outside the box in a friendly, supportive and productive environment. What more can I say? My job: I’m lovin’ it.

So if you have a passion for languages, linguistics and law then maybe, just maybe, a career in trade marks is for you. My advice to you: Just do it. After all, what’s the worst that could happen?

P.S.: New Year challenge - Can you find the 22 slogans hidden in this blog?

Laura Robyn

Laura Robyn

Trainee Trade Mark Attorney

Haseltine Lake Kempner - Cookie Disclaimer

Our website uses cookies to provide you with a better online experience. If you continue to use our site without changing your browser settings, we'll assume you are happy to receive cookies. Please read our Cookie policy for more information.

Do not show this message again