Claire Evans is a chartered trade mark attorney and associate with over 10 years’ experience in IP. In November, she joined our London office from Squire Patton Boggs. She tells us about working at a record label, what attracted her to Mewburn Ellis and why she decided against a career as a pilot.
How did you become a trade mark attorney?
My fascination with trade marks started young - I loved to cut out logos and brand names from magazines and use them to make collages!
I studied history and English at university while working part-time at the local public library. After graduation I went full-time at the library and one day a lady who was starting up her own business came in and asked about how she should go about registering the name of her company as a trade mark and protecting the brand she was developing. I looked into it for her and became interested in the process and IP more broadly.
I could see this was an area that suited my skills and interests so I signed up for the IP Certificate course at Bournemouth University. I got my first job at record label EMI as a trade mark assistant and since then have worked for both specialist trade mark firms and full service law firms.
Can you tell us about the most interesting IP issue you have advised on?
In my role at EMI, now part of Universal, I worked on the ‘Now that’s what I call music!’ brand, which will be familiar to those of us who were brought up on CDs, records or cassette tapes. Those music compilations were much loved and generated countless copycat products. It was my job to write to people and kindly, but firmly, explain it was a trademarked phrase and they couldn’t use it.
What has been your biggest career challenge so far?
One of the hardest parts of my job is trying to convince trade mark examiners that my client’s trade mark should be registerable after an initial refusal. It’s confusing and frustrating for clients who don’t understand why different countries take different approaches.
It’s very satisfying when you are able to put across evidence that customers already associate the trade mark with a client’s product or service and successfully challenge the refusal.
Which person within the legal profession inspires you most?
Part of the reason I joined Mewburn Ellis is because I already knew of, and admired, Head of Trade Marks, Kate O’Rourke. As a former president of the Chartered Institute of Trade Mark Attorneys (CITMA), she was instrumental in securing chartered status for my profession and undertook important work in relation to post-Brexit IP arrangements.
If you weren’t a lawyer, what would you choose as an alternate career?
As a teenager, I really wanted to be a Concorde pilot and I had a few flying lessons when I was 15. It was an enjoyable but expensive hobby. It also took me seven attempts to pass my driving test, so I decided that a career that involves being in charge of a large moving vehicle was probably not right for me!
What made you choose Mewburn Ellis?
Our profession is a small one, so you get a good feel for a firm’s reputation and what they might be like to work for. Whilst working at Squire Patton Boggs, I found myself on the other side of an opposition to Mewburn Ellis. The trade mark team was very easy to work with so when an opportunity arose, I was keen to join.
What are you looking forward to getting involved in at Mewburn?
It’s early days and I’m still getting to know the team and my clients. As well as the usual trade mark work, I’m looking forward to helping to train and support junior team members.
What do you like to do away from your job to relax or have fun?
I love running and a few years ago I ran the London Marathon for St John’s Ambulance. Like most of us at the moment, I am looking forward to travelling abroad again – I recently got engaged so I’ll be spending some time thinking about possible honeymoon destinations.
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