World Intellectual Property Day 2022 

IP and Youth: Innovating for a Better Future

Entrepreneurial journeys are never simple, especially when they involve young changemakers with a bold vision. Nurturing those ideas to become a reality requires, among other things, a legal framework that protects and reassures inspiring applicants. That's why intellectual property is so important for helping these innovators assert ownership of their ingenuity. As we celebrate World Intellectual Property Day, we highlight the work of just a few member firms helping young people make a tangible difference to their communities and beyond.

Young coffee makers point the way forward

Holland & Knight has been supporting multiple young entrepreneurs in the coffee business to support its core workers: farmers and cultivators. Their assistance focuses on advising on processes related to the registration of company trademarks and matters concerning copyright law and contractual protection.

The firm has been working with Caravela Colombia S.A.S., a company dedicated to sourcing and championing quality coffee from Latin America's best smallholder farmers, pursuing quality and transparency at every stage.

The Coffee Compass created by young entrepreneurs is a planner of agronomic and sustainability tasks for the annual cultivation of coffee. The firm’s Bogotá office helped them protect all the related IP rights on a regional basis and covered several countries in Latin America as well.


Roma women speak up for change

Karanović & Partners works with a UK foundation called GRUBB (Gypsy Roma Urban Balkan Beats), which runs educational and artistic programs for Roma children and youth. GRUBB created a band called Pretty Loud, which is likely the world’s first all-Roma female hip-hop group. Through their lyrics and writing, the Serbian band talks about challenges they face as young Roma women, tackling complex topics such as race, social justice, freedom of choice and access to education. They use their voices to fight for a better future – not only their own, but for future generations of Roma girls. Their inspiring story and music have been heard beyond the Balkans, attracting coverage from newspapers like the New York Times.

Karanović & Partners makes sure that the band's IP rights are properly protected at all times, even when they perform before the UN or European Union institutions. The firm counsels GRUBB and Pretty Loud on contract drafting, copyright, taxes and scholarships, among other matters.


The sustainability pioneer running circles around fast fashion

EON is at the forefront of technology-assisted sustainability efforts and is leading the charge in making fashion and apparel an integral part of a circular economy. Founder and CEO Natasha Franck developed the proprietary technology and created the EON brand with the goal of communicating to consumers information on sourcing, supply chain, recyclability and sustainability of garments. EON’s Digital ID technology gives brands’ materials a comprehensive digital profile stored in the cloud, enabling traceability, intelligence and connectivity across a garment’s lifecycle.

The team of trademark specialists at US firm Duane Morris worked with Natasha and EON to clear and federally protect the EON and CIRCULAR ID brands and ensure EON has the ability to control and enforce the use of its brands to identify authenticity and track the lifecycle of products incorporating the branded technology.


Medical and law tech students thrive with patent protection

Chulalongkorn University is Thailand's oldest and best-regarded university. Tilleke & Gibbins works with the university's faculty of medicine and its spin-off entities by drafting and filing patent applications for its young inventors. In the past year, the firm has assisted with approximately ten applications for both Thai and US patent registration. They've handled filings for bio-ink and hydrogel for 3D bio-printing, a product for inflammatory liver disease and pancreatitis, VR-enabled medical training software, and many others.

The firm also sponsors the law faculty's Chula LegalTech competition, in which teams develop legal technology innovations. An IP-related prize-winner from this year is an app that analyses musical and lyrical content to identify possible copyright infringement. Lawyers from the firm’s IP department frequently speak on the importance of IP to the university’s law and business students, and for university start-up incubation programs.


Building a stronger community for Romanian hospitality professionals

Țuca Zbârcea & Asociații has helped various local entrepreneurs navigate the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. For the past three years, the firm has been acting as a legal partner of the first start-up programme dedicated to the hospitality industry in Romania named HoReCa Business Accelerator. It provides education and support through a curriculum designed by over 20 hospitality experts, entrepreneurs and managers.

The firm also advised three young Romanian entrepreneurs who developed Comarket: a B2B digital platform designed to connect professionals and suppliers within the HoReCa community. Țuca Zbârcea & Asociații helped provide IP and other legal assistance - from company set up and branding (including copyright and trademark issues) to negotiation with external partners and preparing the platform for launch. The firm also assisted in connection with an initial €350,000 investment and in raising €187,500 as seed investment further to Comarket’s listing on SeedBlink.


Educating young Aussie entrepreneurs on IP

Macpherson Kelley helps young inventors, creators and entrepreneurs across several industries protect and exploit their intellectual property rights. It is especially focused on educating and encouraging primary and high school-aged children and teenagers. Macpherson Kelley co-sponsors 'Lunch with the Winners', a program that promotes pathways to careers in innovation for local high school students. The firm is also a founding member of the South East Melbourne Manufacturers Alliance, which offers vocational skills courses to young people, and a long-term sponsor of Melbourne Business Awards, which recognises new talent in its Young Achiever category.

The firm's services extend to giving IP-focused lectures to business students at Federation University, and consulting young inventors at Brisbane-based start-up communities Queensland XR Hub and Queensland AI Hub, where lawyers advise for free on IP and IT. Up-and-coming musicians and performers at Arts Law Australia also benefit from Macpherson Kelley's comprehensive IP knowledge.


Pursuing equality in STEM for tomorrow's groundbreaking women

Women Ahead of Their Time (WATT) is a UK not-for-profit, community interest company empowering young women working in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and promoting gender equality. WATT was founded by several Cambridge-based scientists and professionals prominent in the city’s life sciences community.

Penningtons Manches Cooper provide sponsorship to WATT, and offered pro bono legal advice (data protection and trademarks) during its first year. The firm also attended the launch of WATT, at the Women In Biotech event in London in 2020, sponsored by the Biotech Industry Association (BIA). The pro bono advice assisted WATT in setting up its website; this was particularly important for WATT because its online platform featured inspirational stories from women working in STEM and life sciences, and a podcast series interviewing successful female scientists, businesswomen and entrepreneurs. The platform’s goal is to empower future leaders to find effective role models and encourage equal opportunities.


Turning a scraper bot into a personal shopper

Schalast advises a young German software start-up on the design and implementation of software interfaces as well as legal issues that arise in the programming, offering and distribution of so-called scraping bots. One of the start-up's tools enables customers to quickly and automatically search online shops for restocks of a particular product. The API helps the customer overcome technical hurdles such as CAPTCHAs so that they can buy the product after a restock notification.

Schalast has assisted the start-up with potential copyright infringements as well as other questions not yet resolved within the legal community, such as whether offering programming interfaces like this may result in a breach of contractual or competition law provisions.


The recipe to IP success

Barrios & Fuentes encourages young innovators to register their inventions with Peru's National Institute for the Defense of Free Competition and the Protection of Intellectual Property (INDECOPI). The firm recommends both the registration and protection of the proprietary product while reviewing any associated legal requirements.

The team has provided legal services to various young entrepreneurs, reviewing the legal requirements during the procedures for registering and modifying their trademark registrations, trade name and logo, among other considerations. Their focus is to get to know their young clients and truly understand their inventions, creations and entrepreneurships in order to offer innovative solutions.

In one case, the firm advised entrepreneurs on authorisations to market frozen potato-based products. Barrios & Fuentes communicated the importance of patenting the secret recipe and positioning the client in the Peruvian market, allowing consumers to identify them by their registered trademark in INDECOPI.


Navigating obstacles to innovation and ownership

Unlocking the talent of tomorrow's business leaders requires intimate knowledge of the local legal landscape. Armed with proper IP advice, young creators, inventors and entrepreneurs are better positioned to excel in their chosen fields. From stock-checking bot scrapers to an all-female Roma hip-hop group, IP protection encompasses every industry — and it all starts with a great idea.

Find out more about Multilaw's work in IP, Media & Technology