Partner Jess Collen appeared on the Law Firm Excellence podcast to speak about his career path and experience in IP law. In 1996, Jess and his wife, Jane, co-founded Collen IP. The firm represents some of the world’s largest brands, providing legal representation to global companies in the areas of trademark, copyright, design and utility patent, advertising and marketing, and privacy and information management.
Jess' background in business helped him early on in his career. He and Jane began their careers by running retail businesses together, and continued to run them during law school. At the time, law school curriculums taught students very little about the business of law. “A business background… was extremely valuable to me… [law schools] taught you literally nothing about the business of running a law firm” says Jess. Ironically, Jess and Jane originally wanted to go to graduate school to study business, seeing it as a logical next step in their career. After they were set on the idea of graduate school, they went with law instead because the commute was shorter.
Ultimately though, the combination of a legal education and a business background was a winning one. “I’ve done more trademark law than anything else,” said Jess, “and being in the retail industry gave me a really good feel for trademarks and the importance of brands and how products sell… even how manufacturers will create their packaging and their product names to mimic a successful market leader… there’s a very fine line between looking like a national brand and infringing rights, but I really had a very good first hand sense of what that was. So from a professional point of view I think that was a huge advantage to me in understanding trademark law issues.”
Throughout the hour-long podcast, Jess addresses a range of issues related to the running of a high-level IP law firm, everything from revenue sharing to the effects of the internet on IP law. You can listen to the full interview with Law Firm Excellence on the Podchaster website.