“What the hell are you doing?” was what I heard from my wife which jolted me, shook my phone and got the photo blurred. When I looked up, I realised that there were quite a few people staring at me. Sure this is India and there are hundreds of people stopping and staring at things at any given time, but I guess I did look strange. I was down on my knees trying to take a photograph of a pack of sanitary napkins from the bottom most shelves in the local supermarket. In my defence the packaging and the brand name was identical to my client’s and both were placed right beside each other that it made me want to laugh. I had to get a picture of that!

That got me thinking, I must be a strange companion to go shopping with. As a trademark lawyer I love brands, I’m always looking out for interesting and uniquely distinctive words, logos, packaging, sounds and everything that can be defined as a mark (and some that can’t as well which leads to philosophical discussions).

I’m sure it was initially interesting when I proudly announced that we represent this company, or that our firm was instrumental in bringing in a particular product by acquiring someone else trademark rights. I’m sure at some point it was also interesting to spout random information about how much that brand was valued at or who bought that trademark. However now I guess the novelty has worn off and I do look weird taking photos in supermarkets.

It’s not just pride and reflected glory when seeing a client’s brand or spotting someone else’s mark which is similar. Sometimes I tend to get far too loyal. When my wife recently wanted my opinion on whether or not to buy a particular cosmetic product, I apparently made this ‘strange face of disapproval.’ I had no idea about the quality of the product, but I did know that their company opposed one my client’s marks for no apparent reason and I was just bugged with that. However that misplaced sense of loyalty resulted in me having to buy my own client’s product which was probably twice the cost of the other chap’s!

Trademarks are literally all around us and in today’s world where advertisements are on social media, online, offline and everywhere, it’s hard not to notice brands. As a trade mark lawyer, I get to work on the strategy of bringing in brands and securing rights by establishing them or getting someone else’s and also protecting those rights. That does take on a sort of parental feeling for client’s brands.

Either that or maybe I am just strange; but speaking to other lawyers I have found that they have similar stories to share. If you’ve got a similar or maybe more embarrassing incident please share them in the comments section! I’d love to hear from you.

Right now, I’ve got to go Christmas shopping… if my family doesn’t disown me that is!

This article has been authored by Navarre Roy, an IP Law practitioner.

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Editorial Staff

Editorial Staff at Selvam and Selvam is a team of Lawyers, Interns and Staff with expertise in Intellectual Property Rights led by Raja Selvam.