Life as an IP Lawyer: Copenhagen, Denmark

The AmeriKat's professional life, be it on the Kat or sat at her desk litigating her hours away, involves a huge amount of coordination, support and opposition with lawyers from all over the world. One of the IPKat's key objectives is to bring this global IP community closer together by sharing IP decisions, legislation and practice from across the world with our readers, with the aim that by understanding our unique perspectives on the culture of IP practice we can work together to make IP a success story for innovators, creators, users and the public. With those grand aims, the AmeriKat thought it would be worthwhile to ask the next generation of global IP lawyers to illuminate IP practice in their jurisdiction, as well as to give readers some fun reading over their lunch-al-desko...

Emil Jurcenoks
For the eighth in our series we travel 15 hours by car, north east, to Copenhagen Denmark where Emil Jurcenoks (Plesner) dreams of longer judgments, battles cross-border infringement, wishes for higher damages and costs awards and wants to bite into a burger with Bjarke Ingels.  

What can you see from your office window right now?

Plesner is located just north of the city centre near the edge of the harbour. Right now, I can see the new UN building and sun reflecting in the waves (through typical Danish summer clouds, of course) of the Oresund Strait (which separates Denmark and Sweden) while the ferry from Oslo, Norway, arrives.

When did you know that you wanted to pursue a career in IP?

My interest in IP began while studying Intellectual Property Law at the University of Copenhagen. It grew while I studied Trademarks and Related Rights at the Law School of The University of Melbourne, and when I began working in Plesner's IP department in August 2005, I knew that I wanted to pursue a career in IP.

Walk us through a typical day. What time do you get up, what do you do when you get to the office, etc.

I usually get up around 6:30am at the latest and spend the morning trying to get ready while helping my two daughters (aged 3 and 5) with everything from preparing breakfast, getting dressed, brushing their teeth, preparing their lunch boxes etc. I then normally drop my daughters off at kindergarten and school before riding my bike to the office, where I arrive around 8:30am. I then grab a cup of (our splendid!) coffee, before I start working on whatever appears to be most urgent. From that point on, there is no such thing as a typical day - which is one of the great things about this job! My day can consist of internal and external meetings, conference calls, court meetings, oral hearings, drafting of briefs, legal assessments of various IP matters, IP-due diligence, review and drafting of licence agreements, negotiations, pitches, etc. I normally have lunch around 12 noon, and I am usually home around 6pm, where I have dinner with my wife and kids. When the kids are tucked in around 8pm, I normally turn on the computer again and work for another few hours.

What are the key differences in your system that client/other lawyers from outside the jurisdiction find surprising or strange?

The view from Emil's office
Danish judgments are rather short. This makes them easy to read, but sometimes more difficult to interpret and apply in future cases. Also, a national trademark right can be acquired merely by making (very little) use hereof for the relevant goods.

What are the key challenges that are facing the next generation of IP lawyers in your jurisdiction? How are those challenges different from the previous generation?

IP matters are getting more complex with the development of the internet and new technologies. Matters are also more likely to contain cross-border issues than previously, which more often requires involving lawyers from different jurisdictions.

Furthermore, IP clients have acquired more knowledge about IP by hiring IP lawyers themselves. This requires external counsels to be able to provide even more specialised IP advice.

In addition, clients seem to be increasingly focused on whether the advice from the external counsel can add commercial value to the clients' business. The external counsel is therefore no longer just expected to provide legal advice - the external counsel is also expected to be a trusted commercial advisor.

What are the misnomers that people have about IP practice in your jurisdiction?

Many businesses do not protect their IP, because they think of IP as merely an expense that does not create real value. This is of course not true, which they realise when they encounter problems that could have been avoided.

If you could change one thing about IP practice in your jurisdiction, what would it be?

The damages awarded by the Danish courts should be much higher. The same goes for the costs that the courts order the losing party to pay to the winning party. The amounts are so low that even when the amounts are combined they rarely cover the winning party's actual costs and attorney's fees incurred by enforcing the IP rights in question.

What is the key advice you give clients when they are looking to protect or enforce IP rights in your jurisdiction?

Take your time to consider and obtain proper advice about which assets should be protected, which IP rights should be enforced, and how you wish to enforce such rights.

What gives you the biggest thrill in your job?

When I appear in court - and, of course, when I receive the judgment and see that we have won the case.

The view over Copenhagen from Plesner
What are the top trends and/or cases that we should be looking out for in your jurisdiction in 2017/2018?

Obviously, everyone is eager to see what will happen when the Unified Patent Court gets ready to roll. It is currently expected to be ready in the beginning of 2018, and it will pose a huge challenge for clients and patents lawyers all over Europe.

Also, as reported previously on the IPKAT the European Trade Secrets Directive will be implemented in Denmark through an entirely new and independent act on trade secrets. The proposal for the new act is supposed to be published in September 2017, and the final act is expected to be adopted with effect as of 9 June 2018; i.e. the date of the deadline for the implementation of the directive. The new act is expected to improve the protection of trade secrets and increase awareness about the importance of trade secret protection in Denmark.

To be successful in your jurisdiction, what are the key skills a young IP lawyer needs?

You need to be interested, thorough and creative, to have good communication skills, and be able to give commercial advice.

What are you going to/what did you eat for lunch today?

Fortunately, we are blessed with a magnificent kitchen that prepares something new and amazing each day; ranging from traditional Danish dishes and open sandwiches to spicy African and Indian dishes. I therefore never know what I am going to have for lunch before I see what is on the buffet.

What other jurisdictions do you work with the most in your practice?

We handle matters for clients located all over the world. I am most frequently in contact with colleagues from Sweden, Norway, and the UK.

Looking into your crystal ball, where do you see the profession in 10 years’ time?

With clients hiring their own lawyers and handling "the ordinary matters" themselves in-house, I believe we will see a need for external counsels to be even more specialised, and that assistance from external counsels will primarily be needed in contentious matters.

If you could practice IP law anywhere else in the world for a year, where would that be and why?

New York City. Mostly because I love New York City. But also because I would like to experience working in a US law firm and to get a better understanding of how discovery proceedings work.

If you could have lunch with someone famous in the IP world (judge, lawyer, inventor, politician, alive or dead), who would that be and why, and where would you take them?

I would have to say the Danish architect Bjarke Ingels from BIG. I love his architecture, which are actual works of art, and I am amazed by his ability to find new and creative solutions to urban problems; e.g. the Urban Rigger project, where containers have been made into small apartments for students, or the Amager Resource Center, where he is turning the roof of a waste-to-energy plant into a ski slope. I would really like to know where he finds that creativity, and as he appears to be a casual guy, I would buy him a burger at Gasoline Grill in Copenhagen, which was recently chosen by Bloomberg as one of the best 27 burger joints in the world.

After a bike ride around the city,
refuel with a smørrebrød
What is the best piece of advice you have ever been given?

The facts of a case are almost always more important than the law. It is almost always the facts of the case that will decide the outcome. The devil is in the detail, and it is therefore crucial to have a deep knowledge of the facts of the case.

If our readers were to come to your city, what are the top three things you recommend they see, do and eat (in that order)?
1. You should go on a harbour and canal tour on board one of the Netto-Boats. It is a wonderful (and cheap!) way to see the city, and you can tick off many of the most important sights on your list (including The Little Mermaid) during the cruise. 
2. Rent a bike. Copenhagen is small and has bike lanes almost everywhere, which makes it easy (and safe) to get around. 
3. Try one of Copenhagen's many Michelin star restaurants serving the world-famous Nordic cuisine. Noma is currently closed and it is impossible to get a table at Geranium, but Nordic cuisine can also be tasted at formel B or Almanak at The Standard. You should also try the world-famous open sandwiches ("smørrebrød"), and the best place in town is definitely Restaurant Palægade.
Life as an IP Lawyer: Copenhagen, Denmark Life as an IP Lawyer:  Copenhagen, Denmark Reviewed by Annsley Merelle Ward on Thursday, June 29, 2017 Rating: 5

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