Young Practitioner Spotlight: Ashli Weiss

Published: January 15, 2020

Simon Valverde Arias Law San José, Costa Rica

Ashli Weiss is an enthusiastic young attorney who has been actively involved with INTA since before her legal career began. While in law school, Ms. Weiss attended a number of INTA roundtables. As a practicing attorney, she has served on the In-House Practitioners Committee and is a current member of the Right of Publicity Committee. She has also moderated two Table Topics for INTA’s Annual Meeting.

In her professional life, Ms. Weiss has been working at Benefit Cosmetics in San Francisco, California, USA, for nearly three years. Prior to her position at Benefit Cosmetics, she worked as an attorney at Western Digital (San Jose, California, USA) and Tory Burch (Los Angeles, California, USA).

Ms. Weiss attended the University of California, Hastings College of the Law, graduating in 2014 with a concentration in intellectual property (IP). She served as executive editor of the Hastings International and Comparative Law Review and as a trademark law research assistant. Her interest in law and business was sparked during her undergraduate studies, when she earned degrees in political science and business administration.

Today, Ms. Weiss manages the company’s IP portfolio. (This includes managing all aspects of trademark, copyright, advertising, marketing, and brand protection.) Within these areas, Ms. Weiss works on clearances, related agreements, pre-litigation, and litigation. On a daily basis, she frequently communicates with internal business partners from the company’s art, copywriting, and marketing teams, to whom she provides timely advice tailored to the company’s risk tolerance.

“The most enjoyable part of my trademark practice is working on infringement matters,” Ms. Weiss said. She notes that the procedural aspects of infringement are tactical and require carefully crafted arguments based on the facts and strategic negotiation with opposing counsel. According to Ms. Weiss, “The analytical piece of infringement can be unnerving, as the outcomes are heavily based on factual nuances, and arguments require creative thinking and application of the law. The balance of trademark infringement’s structure with ingenuity always keeps me alert and intrigued.”

Ms. Weiss considers trademark squatting an important issue in trademark law today. “Bad-faith filers make prosecution more costly and time consuming,” she says. “These squatters can demand large sums of money to sell their rights. Should you choose not to settle, a court battle can be more expensive than a settlement-and lengthy, as bad-faith filers often choose jurisdictions that don’t have a judicial system sufficiently engaged in trademark law. As new business outlets continue to expand, trademark squatters will continue to adapt. For example, trademark squatters kept pace with business by squatting on domains and now we see an issue with squatting on social media handles.”

“Get comfortable with uncertainty” is a phrase that Ms. Weiss often emphasizes when giving advice to current law students considering a career in the trademark field. “There are rarely clear-cut answers within trademark law,” she noted. “Often times, the factors can be argued by both sides as favorable, which is creative reasoning and application at its finest within the law.”

When Ms. Weiss is not working, she likes to give back by mentoring law students. Students often reach out to her for informational interviews and request career advice. She meets with these students, learns about their ambitions, and helps them focus on how they can better reflect their ambitions on their resume. Since she began mentoring, several of the law students she has mentored have gained employment and are satisfied with the direction of their careers-a fact she finds both humbling and rewarding.

In addition to mentoring, Ms. Weiss enjoys hiking with her husband and her dog. She also pursues her hobby of making cheese, which she finds to be a very precise and scientific process.

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.

© 2020 International Trademark Association