This article was co-authored by André Provedel (Trench, Rossi e Watanabe Advogados) and Carolina Schueler (Luiz Leonardos & Advogados).
In August, Brazil’s two biggest cities hosted an INTA Young Practitioners/Trademark Administrators (YP/TMA) event. Read on for some impressions from Rio de Janeiro.
On August 24, shortly after the conclusion of the Olympic Games, the “INTA Young Practitioners and Trademark Administrators Reception” revisited Rio de Janeiro—a little more than a year after it had successfully premiered there in 2015. Around 40 young practitioners attended the event, which was co-hosted by four Brazilian law firms (Di Blasi Parente & Associados, Luiz Leonardos & Advogados, Ouro Preto Advogados and Trench, Rossi e Watanabe Advogados) and took place in the auditorium at Trench, Rossi e Watanabe Advogados, near the bustle and crowds of Olympic Boulevard.
The program commenced with an introductory speech by Carolina Calheiros (Rolim, Mietzel, Wohlnick & Calheiros LLP), who gave the audience an overview of INTA. She presented the scope of the Association’s work, highlighted the numerous possibilities for participating in its activities throughout the year, and encouraged all those present to contribute to INTA publications and participate in committees and events.
Afterwards, Laura Hammel (the United States Patent and Trademark Office Intellectual Property (USPTO) Attaché for Mercosur, Guianas, and Suriname) gave an encompassing presentation on U.S. trademark law, which not only provided the attendees with an opportunity to learn about issues of substantive law but also helped them gain a better understanding of the USPTO’s structure.
Flávia Vasconcelos (Trench, Rossi e Watanabe Advogados), in her role as moderator of the subsequent roundtable, then opened the debate on the current challenges and opportunities faced by young practitioners with a brief overview of her own professional career and a warm welcome to the speakers.
Rodrigo A. de Ouro Preto Santos (Ouro Preto Advogados) started the conversation by sharing his experience as an LL.M. graduate and answering questions from many attendees seeking an international education in the area of IP. He stated that earning a master’s degree in the United States was a turning point in his career and strongly advised young practitioners to do the same. He recommended, though, that young practitioners apply for an LL.M. program only after having gained some initial work experience in Brazil.
Marcelo de Oliveira Müller (Luiz Leonardos & Advogados) fully endorsed Rodrigo’s opinion with regard to the timing for a master’s degree abroad. He then focused on the challenges faced by young practitioners and provided practical advice on how junior lawyers could improve their career prospects by specializing in a particular area and/or by acquiring fluency in foreign languages.
Paulo Parente Marques Mendes (Di Blasi Parente & Associados) discussed the characteristics that legal employers are looking for in young practitioners and emphasized that, among other skills, the four important traits that every lawyer should possess are energy, initiative, motivation, and creativity.
Following the roundtable, the audience was invited to participate in a dynamic quiz on intellectual property matters in Brazil. The participants were divided into teams and given the opportunity to test their IP knowledge. Samantha Bancroft Vianna Braga (Ouro Preto Advogados) evaluated the answers and validated the team scores.
Given the presence of so many intellectual property experts, the participants considered the event to be an enriching experience. Yasmin Monteiro (Trench, Rossi e Watanabe Advogados) stated: “I attended the event last year and decided to join again. It is always very good to share experiences and learn more about INTA’s activities and programs.” Yasmin’s colleague Luiza Vitorino joined in, stating: “It was a great experience to participate. The event was important to provide guidance for young practitioners like me, experiencing the early steps of their career in law. I am pretty sure I will attend the roundtable next year as well.”
The attendees had the chance to network, exchange experiences, and get involved with INTA at a deeper level. They left the event eager not only to take part in next year’s YP/TMA reception, but also hoping to attend INTA Annual Meetings and to participate in activities of one of INTA’s committees very soon.