SMEs: Navigating Intellectual Property Issues—A Discussion Between an Entrepreneur and His IP Counsel

Published: June 8, 2021

Brand & New

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Alexandre Koiransky Founder, FAIR Paris, France


Annick Pairault Partner, Ab Initio Paris, France

It’s well-known that intellectual property (IP) has become the lifeblood of most markets and companies over the last decades, with the generalization of the knowledge economy, the all- encompassing digital transformation, and the increased dependence of businesses on intangible assets. With that, IP has taken a critical place in the way businesses make decisions to develop a new product, to launch a new brand, to hire employees with niche skills, to invest in repository infrastructure, etc.

While international groups and large companies often have resources handy to address IP issues, whether in staff, time, or cash, it is much less the case for small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that are often late in factoring in these considerations. However, spin-offs, small startups, and other SMEs increasingly depend on large firms or companies as suppliers or customers, for venture finance, for knowledge and product development, and for opening new markets. This makes it even more critical for SMEs to know how IP works, so that they can better protect and defend their rights throughout their development and to make sure they don’t base part of their development on IP assets they are not fully free to use.

Our two guests share their respective experiences on SMEs navigating IP issues in an ever-innovating world, both from the business owner side and from the IP counsel side.

Our first guest is Alexandre Koiransky, the founder of FAIR, Paris, France, which is a leading 12-year-old fair-trade liquor brand built on a mission to support small farmers in developing economies. Prior to this, he co-founded another startup, which he successfully sold. A true entrepreneur at heart, he is also a partner with WeLike StartUp, a startup incubator and a platform of resources for innovative companies.

Our second guest is Annick Pairault, an attorney specializing in IP and partner with Ab Initio, a law firm based in Paris. She advises clients across a broad spectrum of sectors and focuses on trademark law, distinctive signs, brands, copyrights, domain domains, and unfair competition. She is FAIR’s IP counsel.

Related Resources

About Alexandre Koiransky

About Annick Pairault

Also of interest:

About FAIR

Entrepreneur: The How-To—Protecting Your Intellectual Property As A Small Business


INTA: Fact Sheet—Introduction to Trademarks, Learn the Language 

INTA Fact Sheet—Introduction to Trademarks, Trademark Symbols

INTA’s Pro Bono Clearinghouse

MOSourceLink: What Small Businesses Need to Know About Intellectual Property Rights

About Brand & New

Brand & New podcasts from the International Trademark Association

Host Audrey Dauvet discusses compelling business and legal topics relating to intellectual property, innovation, technology, and change with an international roster of influential experts and industry visionaries.

Brand & New guests contribute to this podcast in their personal capacity, and the opinions expressed (or experiences shared) are their own. They do not purport to reflect the views or opinions of INTA or our members.

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