November 25, 2019
When a customer wants to file or enforce their patent on the other side of the globe, Kolster’s partner attorney in that country ensures that everything goes smoothly. A global partnership network separates the wheat from the chaff in the IPR sector, European Patent Attorney Ossi Huhtanen points out.
Strong internationality has characterised Kolster’s operations since our company was established. When a client company pursues the global market, patents are being applied for in an increasing number of countries. For this to be successful, an IPR company needs trusted partners to all over the world. In the target country, the quality of service is always completed by a local attorney who we know personally and whose expertise and ethics can be trusted.
A unique partner network does not stay in shape by itself. That is why it is constantly monitored and developed. Kolster’s Partner, European Patent Attorney Ossi Huhtanen lists five things that are important for customers to check when they need an IPR partner able to manage international fields.
1. Find out how international IPR partners are selected
When one of my customers wants to enforce a patent in Korea, for example, I need to obtain reliable information about Korean IPR practices. In that case, from here in Finland, I contact our local partner attorney who will take care of the matter in the target country. From different countries, Kolster has sought IPR experts whose work is reliable and who can be trusted with customers’ assignments. Our network has an expert for every need. Most of them are patent attorneys and lawyers, as is the case at Kolster’s own office.
References and depth of expertise are important in the selection of new partners. Reliability of operations, cost-efficiency and smoothness in correspondence are essential.
2. Make sure that the partner network is comprehensive
Kolster’s network of trusted partners has global coverage. It has been built on a long-term basis in all corners of the world, including emerging markets. EU countries, the United States and China are the most important target markets for many companies operating globally, but local IPR expertise is needed especially when targeting the markets of South American countries such as Brazil or Chile, as well as other countries that are more exotic from a Finnish perspective.
The importance of Africa in the IPR sector has been growing for many years now. In addition to strong Asian countries such as China, South Korea and Japan, our customers are also applying for patents in Pakistan, Malaysia or Indonesia, for example. These markets may be significant for certain customers especially in the future, and that must be prepared for in IPR strategy and protection.
3. Check how you can defend your IP rights through the network
Partner experts are needed, for example, when a customer wants to enforce a patent or trademark in a country where Kolster does not have its own office.
IPR disputes are also always handled nationally. So if a customer has to take court action elsewhere in the world, the customer is assisted by an IPR professional who is well-versed in the practices of the target country.
In practice, the cooperation generally involves us Finnish patent attorneys directly communicating with the partner in the country who is needed to handle the customer’s IPR matters at any given time. The team formed by patent attorneys and the partner network works effectively!
4. Ask how the work of partner attorneys is monitored
In practice, partner attorneys are intellectual property professionals who meet strict quality standards. The bar has been set high to ensure the best service for our customers. When selecting partners, especially their substantive and technological expertise is always carefully examined.
The network is also audited regularly. Feedback is collected from attorneys and partners to further improve operations. Attorneys participating in communication are valuable in the evaluation because they communicate directly with partners and see how the cooperation is working in practice.
Customers particularly expect cost-effectiveness, continuous improvement and good personal relationships. They are leading factors in establishing and maintaining the network.
At Kolster, partnerships are invariably long-lasting. The network selected and refined over decades has a partner for handling every IPR need.
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5. Find out whether the FICPI community is guaranteeing the quality
Personal contacts with attorneys operating in distant and developing countries are particularly important. As meetings continue over several years, mutual trust increases and a good understanding of the best experts in the industry in different countries will emerge. For example, FICPI (International Federation of Intellectual Property Attorneys) is a good place for creating contacts and building connections where you can meet top IPR professionals in person.
I regularly attend FICPI events where I always schedule meetings with our former and new partners.
It has to be constantly evaluated whether new partners are needed somewhere in the world and whether the partners’ expertise meets customer needs and demand.
FICPI is a truly global community connecting IP attorneys around the world. It supports the expertise and customer work of attorneys, and you can only become a member through experience, professional qualifications and good reputation among attorney colleagues. FICPI membership in itself is an indication of the level of expertise and credibility of an attorney.
Ossi Huhtanen most recently attended the 18th Open Forum of FICPI in Vienna in October.
Are you pursuing international markets? Contact our experts.