Associates, In-House Counsels & Advocates

I’ve always been fascinated by the legal profession and the way it shapes society- Marinos Cleanthous, IP Attorney (EU) – Founder of IP CYPRUS – Appointed Member by the Cyprus Government of the Cyprus IP Committee

This interview has been published by Priyanka Karwa and The SuperLawyer Team

Sir, can you share with our readers what specifically inspired you to take up a career in law? How did you drill down among various fields of law and chose IP as your area of expertise?

I’ve always been fascinated by the legal profession and the way it shapes society. What drew me to law specifically was the opportunity to help people and make a positive impact in their lives. I was initially attracted to the idea of becoming a litigator, but as I learned more about the different areas of law, I became particularly interested in intellectual property (IP).

I found IP to be a compelling area of law because it involves the protection and enforcement of intangible assets like ideas, inventions, and creative works. As someone who has always been interested in technology and innovation, IP law presented an opportunity to work with cutting-edge companies and help them safeguard their intellectual property rights.

To drill down further and choose IP as my area of expertise, I began researching and speaking with professionals in the field. I was particularly drawn to the complexity of the subject matter and the constant evolution of technology and the law. It’s a field that requires a deep understanding of both legal principles and scientific concepts, which appealed to my analytical and problem-solving skills.

Overall, I believe that a career in IP law is incredibly rewarding and allows me to combine my passion for technology with my desire to help others.

What steps did you take when you were back at law school to become the successful IP attorney, you are now? Tell you us briefly about your career path.

When I was in law school, I focused on courses that were relevant to IP law, such as patents, trademarks, copyrights, and trade secrets. I also sought out internships and clerkships with law firms that specialized in IP law to gain practical experience and exposure to the field.

After graduation, I joined a law firm as an associate and worked on a wide range of IP matters, including EU and Cyprus trademark and designs cases. I learned a great deal from my colleagues and gained valuable experience in managing client relationships and  drafting legal documents.

Over time, I developed a reputation in the IP community and began to receive more complex and high-profile cases. As my career progressed, I also became involved in teaching and mentoring younger attorneys interested in IP law. I have lectured at Nicosia University Law School and industry events, and have served as a mentor to several young lawyers starting their careers in this field.

Looking back, I believe that if you want to be a successful  IP attorney you need to combine hard work, dedication, and a willingness to learn and grow. I never stopped seeking out new challenges or opportunities to expand my knowledge and skills.

How important do you think IP strategizing is for start-up companies? Most start-ups are not high on investments, therefore what are must-dos for start-up companies from an IP perspective?

Intellectual Property (IP) strategizing is crucial for start-up companies, regardless of their size and investment capacity. Protecting their ideas, inventions, and brand is essential for their long-term success and competitiveness in the market.

Here are some must-dos for start-up companies from an IP perspective:

Conduct a thorough IP search: Before starting any IP filings, it is important to conduct a thorough search to ensure that your idea/invention/brand is not already patented or trademarked. This will help you avoid any potential infringement issues and unnecessary expenses.

File for patents and trademarks: Once you have established that your idea/invention/brand is unique, it is important to file for patents and trademarks to protect your IP. This will help prevent others from copying, using or selling your invention/brand without your permission.

Draft non-disclosure agreements (NDAs): NDAs can protect your confidential information and prevent others from stealing or copying your idea/invention/brand. It is important to ensure that anyone you share your idea/invention/brand with signs an NDA before doing so.

Build an IP portfolio: As your start-up grows, it is important to continue to build your IP portfolio. This will not only help protect your existing IP but also enable you to develop and protect new ideas/inventions/brands as your business evolves.

Monitor your competitors: It is important to monitor your competitors to ensure that they are not infringing on your IP rights. If you suspect infringement, it is important to take prompt action to protect your IP.

In conclusion, IP strategizing is a critical component of any start-up company’s success. By taking the necessary steps to protect their ideas, inventions, and brands, start-ups can increase their chances of long-term success in the market.

Sir, despite your busy schedule as an IP attorney, you are an eminent multi-tasker. You have been listed as the “leading individual” in the field of IP law in Cyprus (LEGAL 500) and you have also acted as the Intellectual Property and Creativity Mentor in many Cypriot Institutions. Can you tell our readers how to go a mile ahead and contribute to the legal fraternity?

Thank you for your kind words. Indeed, as an IP attorney, I have been fortunate to be recognized as a leading individual in the field of IP law in Cyprus. And I am also grateful for the opportunities I have had to serve as an Intellectual Property and Creativity Mentor in various Cypriot institutions.

When it comes to contributing to the legal fraternity, my advice would be to focus on two key areas: expertise and community involvement.

Firstly, it is essential to strive for excellence in your area of expertise. This means investing time and effort to develop a deep understanding of the law and its practical application. It also means staying up-to-date with the latest developments in your field, such as new legislation, case law, and industry trends.

Secondly, it is equally important to be involved in your local legal community. This can involve participating in professional organizations, attending conferences and seminars, and volunteering your time and expertise to support legal aid programs and other initiatives that benefit the wider community.

By combining these two areas, you can not only advance your own career but also make a meaningful contribution to the legal fraternity. I believe that we all have a responsibility to use our skills and expertise to give back to society and help build a better future for all.

You are a member of several active Intellectual Property Organizations, like INTA (International Trademark Association), PTMG (Pharmaceutical Trademarks Group), AIPPI (International Association for the Protection of Intellectual Property), and Silicon Valley IP Law Association. How do you think active participation in these forums helps IP professionals to enhance their careers?

Active participation in those Organizations can be incredibly beneficial for IP professionals in many ways. Here are a few reasons why:

Professional Development: These organizations offer numerous opportunities for IP professionals to enhance their knowledge and skills through various workshops, seminars, conferences, and training programs. Such events provide insights into the latest developments and trends in IP law, which can help professionals stay up-to-date with the ever-changing legal landscape.

Networking: Participating in these forums offers a great opportunity for IP professionals to network with peers, clients, and experts in their respective fields. Such connections can lead to potential business opportunities, new clients, and even job offers.

Exposure: By participating in these organizations, IP professionals can gain exposure to the international community, which can help expand their reach and potentially lead to global opportunities.

Professional Recognition: Active participation in such organizations can help IP professionals establish themselves as thought leaders in their respective fields. By sharing their expertise and contributing to discussions, they can gain recognition and respect from their peers and potential clients.

Access to Resources: These organizations offer access to a vast range of resources like legal databases, research papers, and other tools that can help professionals stay informed and efficient

Sir, in your opinion, how do you think AI like ChatGpt would impact one’s IP rights?

AI is increasingly being used in various industries to improve productivity, efficiency, and accuracy. While AI can undoubtedly contribute to innovation, there is also a concern that it may lead to a potential lack of creativity. For example, AI-generated content may lack the nuance and uniqueness that human-generated content can bring.

Regarding IP rights, AI-generated content and inventions can still be protected under current patent, trademark, and copyright laws. However, the question of who owns the IP rights for AI-generated works can be more complex. Typically, the person or entity who creates the AI or employs the AI would hold the IP rights. However, there are situations where AI may generate an invention without human intervention, and in those cases, the AI may be considered the inventor.

Despite the potential challenges, AI has the potential to create new patents and IP rights that were not previously possible. For example, AI algorithms can identify patterns and correlations that humans may not recognize, leading to new inventions and innovations.

In conclusion, the impact of AI on IP rights is a complex issue that will require ongoing attention and analysis as AI continues to advance. Nonetheless, it is clear that AI has the potential to both enhance and disrupt the current IP landscape.

Sir, what would be your advice for young law graduates who intend to set their career in IP Practice?

Firstly, I would suggest that you keep yourself updated on the latest technological advancements as technology plays a crucial role in IP practice. With the rise of Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain, and other emerging technologies, it is essential to stay up-to-date with the latest developments in these areas. This knowledge will help you better understand the legal and practical aspects of IP protection and enforcement.

Secondly, networking is crucial for building a successful career in IP practice. Attend conferences, seminars, and workshops to connect with other professionals in the field. Build a professional network, seek out mentors, and engage in discussions with experts to stay updated on the latest industry trends and legal developments.

  Get in touch with Marinos Cleanthous-

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