Five minutes with…Verena von Bomhard, BomhardIP
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Five minutes with…Verena von Bomhard, BomhardIP

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Verena von Bomhard reveals why reviewing hundreds of briefs has heightened her understanding of languages

Welcome to the latest instalment of Managing IP’s ‘Five minutes with’ series, where we learn more about IP practitioners on a personal as well as a professional level. This time we have Verena von Bomhard, partner at BomhardIP in Spain.

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

That depends (lawyer’s answer)… on who is asking and where. If it’s someone unrelated to the law, I will simply say “lawyer” and only elaborate further if asked.

Talk us through a typical working day.

First thing in the morning I review emails on the iPhone (a bad habit, because of the risk of leaving important mails marked as “read” and then forgetting about them). In the evening, before calling it a day, I clean-up my priority list.

Everything that comes in between changes from day to day. Even where I work and in whose company (either whoever happens to be at the office, or – if I am at home – with one of my four cats).

What are you working on at the moment?

A General Court submission, a Court of Justice of the EU brief, the latest edition of the 'Wolters Kluwer Concise Trademark Commentary', an EU-wide trademark search, a question on classification, a presentation for later this year, a request for proposal, and a few other things.

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

Trademark and design lawyers typically deal with multiple matters, and I am no exception. I quite like the image of “juggling” although I would picture that with hands and feet and sometimes even the nose.

For the “bigger” things (briefs or publications), I tend to turn off notifications and force myself to ignore emails for longer periods. Fragmenting work on those is less efficient, at least for me.

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

People. People.

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

I don’t think there’s anything that sets an IP lawyer apart from any other professional. Nor is there a one-size-fits-all definition of success. So, in the broadest of all terms, perhaps the ability to listen. When you speak (or write), know your audience.

What is the most common misconception about IP?

That reducing the scope of IP protection to make sure that cheap copies can hit the market is good for consumers. Sustainability in all respects (including environment, and the supply chain) isn’t usually the forte of copycats.

What or who inspires you?

Passion. From anyone for anything. I think it’s the cornerstone of excellence coupled with joy.

If you weren’t in IP, what would you be doing?

I would either still be looking or have landed somewhere that surprised me as much as IP did (positively), and I would probably now be retiring! Teaching a language could have been an option, although I only found out through editing and reviewing hundreds of briefs and articles.

Any advice you would give your younger self?

My younger self did not listen to advice but intuitively did what I would recommend to any young person: if you don’t like what you do, keep looking.

What is your motto in life?

I don’t have time, I make time.

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