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December 15, 2018 Vol. 73 No. 21 Back to Bulletin Main Page

INTA's 2018 Tomorrow’s Leaders Award Winners: What It Takes to Be a Young IP Leader

INTA recently honored two young trademark lawyers with its 2018 Tomorrow’s Leaders Award, which was introduced last year to encourage young trademark lawyers to participate in and contribute to the Association. The award recognizes outstanding performances by two young professionals with less than five years of experience who have demonstrated early leadership qualities.

The 2018 recipients—Mina Jovanovic (Zivko Mijatovic & Partners, Serbia) and Gaurav Bhalla (ALG India Law Offices LLP, India)—received their awards in New Orleans, Louisiana, USA, during the 2018 INTA Leadership Meeting in November. In addition to being presented with the award, Ms. Jovanovic and Mr. Bhalla will have the opportunity to serve on an INTA committee and will receive complimentary admittance to the 2019 Annual Meeting in Boston, Massachusetts, USA, next May. Each will also be assigned an INTA mentor.

Ms. Jovanovic and Mr. Bhalla spoke with the INTA Bulletin about what the award means to them and why they are excited to become involved with INTA.

Mina Jovanovic (Zivko Mijatovic & Partners, Serbia)

How long have you been practicing and why did you choose IP law?
I have been with Zivko Mijatovic & Partners for more than two years now; this is where I focused my interest on intellectual property (IP) law and where I confirmed that IP was the right choice. Before I joined the firm, I had practiced in corporate law, gaining valuable experience in procedural law, among other areas. During my studies, I had an opportunity to learn from enthusiastic and motivating professors on the Faculty of Law at the University of Belgrade. They supported my interest in IP, which came from an initial—and somewhat naïve—impression of IP law as the juncture of two of my passions: art and law. Once I began exploring more deeply, I realized how much more complex IP law actually is.

How did you hear about the Tomorrow’s Leaders Award and why did you apply?
The colleague heading my team forwarded the application to me, strongly encouraging me to apply and introduce myself to the INTA world. I became particularly interested in the award once I reviewed the application form and realized that it was aimed at recognizing and supporting values I truly appreciate—commitment and creativity in the practice of trademark law, a desire for challenges, and demonstrated efforts to enhance current local and international practice. Thus, I applied not only for the great opportunities the award provides, but also in order to challenge my own experience and understanding of the trademark law community and its principles.

What do you think it takes for a young practitioner to become a leader in this field?
I believe there are three key conditions for reaching this goal. First, it takes hard work and constant investment in advancing skills and knowledge. Then, it takes sensibility and a predisposition to work with people, as well as the capacity to motivate and support others in their development and performance. I believe that empathy towards colleagues is a highly valued characteristic to which all leaders should aspire. Finally, it takes the courage to follow the inherent motivation to explore new fields of challenges and broaden the boundaries of common practice.

What is your view of INTA’s role in the international trademark community and why do you think it’s important for young practitioners in particular to become involved?
In my opinion, the greatest role INTA has is enhancing connections (one could say accelerating interactions) between legal practitioners and trademark holders. By providing strong support for the development of this area of law and all of the relevant stakeholders, INTA demonstrates how special and caring the IP community is and can be. I believe that it is of the utmost importance for young practitioners to get involved, not only for improvement of our own knowledge and skills, but also because of all the unique contributions we have the ability to provide. Recognition of the importance and potential of young practitioners and our enthusiasm is a powerful incentive for us to provide the best efforts to increase the quality of trademark law in many different ways.

Gaurav Bhalla (ALG India Law Offices LLP, India)

How long have you been practicing and why did you choose IP law?
I have been working in the field of IP law—with a focus on trademark law, some aspects of copyright law, and geographical indications—for more than three years. I was first introduced to IP while I was in law school and I enjoyed the subject, so I decided to take a couple of short-term courses in IP law, which further increased my interest. From there, I chose IP law as my field of specialization for my master’s degree. After graduating, I joined ALG India Law Offices LLP and have been here since.

How did you hear about the Tomorrow’s Leaders Award and why did you apply?
I have been closely observing INTA’s activities over the past few years and wanted to contribute in some way. I read about the Tomorrow’s Leaders Award last year and subsequently received an email from INTA inviting me to apply. The international platform provided by this award and the excellent opportunities associated with INTA were the driving factors for my application. Becoming more involved with INTA, whether by way of attending the Leadership Meeting and Annual Meeting, serving on an INTA committee, or being assigned an INTA mentor, were incentives enough to give it a shot.

What do you think it takes for a young practitioner to become a leader in this field?
For a young practitioner to be a leader in IP, it is imperative that he or she should not only be motivated in his or her practice of IP law, but also equally enthusiastic to learn about the developments in other jurisdictions and practice areas and to explore their practical applicability. The practitioner should actively participate in conferences and discussions, as well as author research papers on developments in the field of IP law and reach out and collaborate with peers in other jurisdictions. Exploring developments in IP laws globally will thereby broaden their horizons on various aspects of IP law.

I also believe that practitioners should be able to demonstrate quality leadership skills whenever the occasion arises in his or her professional career. He or she should be able to identify and grasp such opportunities in day-to-day professional life in order to demonstrate these skills.

What is your view of INTA’s role in the international trademark community and why do you think it’s important for young practitioners in particular to become involved?
With more than 7,200 member organizations in more than 190 countries, INTA is undoubtedly one of the largest organizations in the IP world. It therefore serves as a great platform for attorneys (and in turn law firms) to collaborate with existing as well as prospective clients for their business development objectives. It also provides opportunities to learn about the development of law and practice in different jurisdictions, enabling attorneys to give more reasoned opinions while advising clients in various jurisdictions. Additionally, INTA offers opportunities for imparting knowledge to the public about awareness of IP law in various jurisdictions. Overall, young practitioners bring with them fresh perspectives and different and unique approaches on many IP issues and INTA serves as a great platform for them to share those ideas.

Although every effort has been made to verify the accuracy of items in the 
INTA Bulletin, readers are urged to check independently on matters of specific concern or interest. Law & Practice updates are published without comment from INTA except where it has taken an official position. 

 © 2018 International Trademark Association