The pandemic has accelerated the pace of digitization as business leaders look for solutions to recover lost ground and plan for the road ahead. As the world races along this digitization path, the role of intellectual property in the global economy is becoming more significant. Lawyers from Baker McKenzie's Global IP and Data & Technology Practice discuss the top 5 IP and data & technology issues multinational corporations face in today's ever-changing digital economy.

1. Digital transformation  the online customer experience

The pandemic has shaken up consumer behavior. With online dealings being the main interaction with clients, the online experience has become a top priority for brands. Indeed, the customer's experience online defines the company's brand image and service. Now more than ever, the online experience that brands offer needs to be more innovative. An example would be replacing the experience of viewing a product in person or trying a garment on with an equivalent online experience. This inherently involves a number of IP issues to navigate ̶ from branding and trademark protection to copyright in both images and music, to concerns around online counterfeiters as well as the development or license for specific software or technology.

2. Online sales platforms  data security is a top priority

As companies become increasingly reliant on online platforms to do business, there are opportunities to discover more about your client and use "data" to provide bespoke and customized experiences. Alongside the collection and use of customer data come obligations around the use, storage and security of such data. As failure to adopt appropriate measures leads to security risks and fines as well as to negative publicity, data protection and cybersecurity is a key issue for companies.

3. Ensuring supply chain integrity  protect your assets 

As the normal distribution model of sales transitions from physical to online stores, intercepting counterfeit activity at borders becomes more challenging. This is particularly so when counterfeit goods are individually mailed in small packages and are no longer shipped between countries in large consignments. These cross-border enforcement issues remain a key concern for brand owners and businesses.

4. Acquisitions of new technology and IP are driving M&As

"Acquiring new technology" and "acquiring intellectual property" were among the top three reasons cited by business leaders for considering acquisitions over the next 12 months. This is according to our recently released report, Charting Growth - The New M&A Landscape in Asia Pacific. This trend in tech- and IP-motivated M&A activity highlights the importance of tech and IP, including patents, trade secrets and knowhow, as well as branding to businesses. Tech and software assets with proven resilience to the pandemic will be particularly valuable as consumer behavior and demand for digital offerings established during the pandemic lead the corporate agenda and drive digital transformations across industries. Indeed, businesses from just about every sector are making plays to acquire new tech capabilities as they race to reinvent themselves for the digital era.

5. Protecting technology and innovation  understanding your IP and its value is crucial

Protecting your innovation is even more important in the race to see who gets to market the fastest. Whether the technology is developed in-house, obtained through acquisitions, or licensed from third parties, the protection afforded to such technology can be paramount to a company's business model, its ability to get to market, and ultimately their success. A clear understanding of the IP rights available and the process for securing protection is vital ̶ from the initial concept stage through to development, manufacture and marketing, as well as in dealing with third parties such as investors, developers and manufacturers. 

With over 800 intellectual property, data and technology lawyers in 60 countries, Baker McKenzie has a world-leading team. As the "World's Strongest Law Firm Brand" (Acritas Sharplegal® Global Elite Brand Index), we really do understand brand value. Baker McKenzie approaches IP management as a strategic issue and have developed the people, processes and technologies to serve as counsel of choice for protecting the IP assets of global businesses. We help some of the world's leading companies across the full life cycle of IP assets in all aspects of the acquisition, protection, enforcement and exploitation of their IP rights. We cover the full scope of IP services in more jurisdictions than any other firm. Our global coverage, high-quality work and commitment to client service are reflected in the recognition we receive within the legal industry. We are the most widely ranked firm in the World Trademark Review's WTR 1000, as well as IAM Patent 1000, have won awards in all regions at the Managing IP Awards 2021, and are ranked Band 1 by Chambers Global, Intellectual Property for the past 14 years.

Our awards and accolades:

  • Managing IP Awards: Americas Firm of the Year and European Trademark Firm of the Year
  • IP Stars: 83 individuals named as IP Stars across 31 jurisdictions (including 45 in Tier 1) and 6 leaders ranked as Top 250 Women in IP globally
  • World Trademark Review:
    • The most widely ranked firm in the WTR 1000 with 93 individuals and 50 jurisdictions ranked in 38 offices across all four regions (including 50 with gold band status)
    • 28 lawyers in all regions named as 2021 WTR Global Leaders: Private Practice
  • IAM Patent 1000: The most widely ranked firm with 50 individuals and 23 offices ranked in 27 jurisdictions across all four regions
  • Chambers Global: Band 1 for 14 years for Intellectual Property, 12 years for Data Protection, 13 years for TMT, 13 years for Outsourcing and 85 M&A lawyers ranked globally – more than any other law firm
  • Global Data Review 100 2021: Ranked as a GDR 100 Elite firm according to GDR, the first data law ranking that goes beyond data protection and privacy
  • Refinitiv: #1 by deal volume in Cross-Border M&A over the last decade
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