Five minutes with … Yar Chaikovsky, White & Case
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Five minutes with … Yar Chaikovsky, White & Case

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Each week Managing IP speaks to a different IP lawyer about their life and career

Welcome to the latest instalment of Managing IP’s ‘Five minutes with’ series, where we learn more about IP lawyers on a personal as well as a professional level. This time we have Yar Chaikovsky, partner at White & Case in Silicon Valley.

Someone asks you at a party what you do for a living. What do you say?

I am an intellectual property trial lawyer. My clients include TikTok, Snap, Trend Micro and HTC, but really I can litigate any type of technological case from networking to medical devices. I try to leverage my ability to explain complex issues to juries and judges. I get to learn new technologies and legal issues regularly. 

Talk us through a typical working day.

There is no typical day. I can be traveling around the world, arguing in court, sitting at my desk writing briefs, or teaching. When I am not in court, I am ensuring our current matters are all being run to the best results for the client. I also spend a good deal of time managing our global IP group.

What are you working on at the moment?

I have a complex trade secret and copyright case for TikTok and ByteDance. It was in the Western District of Texas but was just transferred to the Northern District of California. 

I also have a multiple forum patent litigation involving competitors OpenText and Trend Micro, and more than 20 patents.

I am also working on two cases before the International Trade Commission. In one case we are representing Voltage and Ningbo Voltage Smart Production. In the other, I am representing Minka Lighting. These types of cases are very important to our client as the result of the litigation can result in their inability to import products into the US.

Does one big piece of work usually take priority or are you juggling multiple things?

If I am in trial, one piece of work takes priority. Outside of court, I usually work on our full docket of cases.

What is the most exciting aspect of your role and what is the most stressful?

The most exciting is achieving success for clients. Knowing your clients are satisfied with your representation is the best feeling. The most stressful is when you lose. It happens. We all lose at times. Learn from it and get better.

Tell us the key characteristics that make a successful IP lawyer.

Excellent oral and written advocate. Not being afraid of new technologies. Creativity.

What is the most common misconception about IP?

One misconception about IP is that you need to have a technical background to be successful. In the end, you need to be the best advocate for your clients – that doesn’t necessarily entail technical knowledge. It is more about the ability to persuade.

What or who inspires you?

Winning. And not losing.

If you weren't an IP lawyer, what would you be doing?

Spending the time to perfect my golf swing.

Any advice you would give your younger self?

Stress less. It doesn’t help the clients, your team, or you.

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