Industry view: Helping safeguard innovation

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By Andrew Docherty, Aberdeen Office Managing Partner at Marks & Clerk LLP

The north-east is renowned as a significant contributor to innovation in the global energy sector.

Protecting that innovation requires a deep understanding of technology and global intellectual property (IP) systems, which is where the role of the IP advisor comes in – a specialist advisor who understands not only the global energy picture, but also the strategies and legal framework that serve to protect business interests.

IP can be protected in various ways, with innovation businesses typically focusing on the patent system. A well-rounded IP strategy might also consider the trademark system for brand protection. It is clearly in the interests of any business to ensure they are properly advised across the entire IP spectrum.

Andy Docherty

At Marks & Clerk LLP we pride ourselves on our robust approach to recruitment and training, seeking exceptional engineers and scientists to become our IP attorneys. Those recruits will often have multiple university degrees as well as industrial expertise in their technical field. Our support teams are also the best in the industry.

Protecting IP is not a simple process. A detailed understanding of new technology is pre-requisite, as is expert legal and commercial know-how. Developing this know-how is our priority, to ensure that those excellent minds become the best IP attorneys in the industry. Our IP advisor teams work closely with our clients to understand the technical detail of their inventions, and also their commercial drivers, objectives and constraints.

It takes many years to achieve professional qualification as an IP attorney in the UK. The examination process is widely regarded as one of the most difficult of any industry. We endeavour to provide our people with the best possible opportunity to gain their professional qualifications, and the necessary skills to become well-rounded, astute IP advisors.

Our trainee attorneys have the advantage of being part of our industry leading in-house “Training Academy”, combining a comprehensive curriculum of structured lectures and tutorials, led by seasoned professionals from our UK and overseas offices. This is supported with close mentoring and supervision. For those in support roles we provide in-house tutorials, mentoring and industry accredited qualification routes.

Our people are able to exploit our global network with knowledge sharing and secondment opportunities that very few other IP firms are able to offer.  This enables us to provide our clients with the brightest and best IP advisors to support businesses in the North East and beyond, now and in the future.

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