Tapio Blanc is chief trademark officer at F. Hoffmann-La Roche based in Basel, Switzerland
How is digitalisation affecting IP enforcement?
It has created new options for the enforcement of IP rights besides the traditional way of going to court, such as brand protection sotfware tools or Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) procedures at WIPO.
What is the biggest factor to consider when evaluating possible IP expansion?
Make sure that you incorporate the principle of territoriality into legal searches and linguistic checks. Even in a globalised world there are local laws and languages to consider.
How did you overcome the strongest IP challenge you have faced in recent years?
Not so much in court or trade mark offices, but rather thanks to creative solutions and negotiation.
What do you make of the USA’s recent IP waiver for vaccines?
The IP waiver will not increase the supply of Covid-19 vaccines, pharmaceuticals or diagnostics. Their production is highly complex and cooperation and licensing is already taking place between many companies all over the world. The IP waiver attacks IP rights and there is a risk of substandard products coming into the market.
What is unique to IP protection as a profession? How has it changed since the start of your career?
You meet distinctive and intelligent colleagues who stay loyal to their profession. However, the profession has become more uniform with fewer eccentric characters than there used to be. Digitalisation and IT make it possible to deliver solutions more quickly and from all angles.
Name three way in which law firms can improve the advice they provide.
Shorter, sharper, cheaper.
Excluding your company’s brands or products, what one brand can you not do without?