Ukraine: "You Have To Understand Client's Business As Well As What Exactly This Business Needs From You"

Last Updated: 25 June 2019
Article by Evris Law Firm
Most Read Contributor in Ukraine, July 2019

How do you effectively build relationships with your clients? Which changes in IP practice have recently blown the market? Are Ukrainians ready to pay for content? We have discussed this and more with Aleksandr Molotai, partner and the head of IP practice of "Evris" law firm in his interview for "Yurydychna Gazeta".

Aleksandr, you are listed among the best lawyers in the IP practice. Could you please share some details on how your career have been developing. Who or what has influenced your development as a professional most?

This is an endless story. I have been lucky to work with good people and good companies. I started my career with Baker McKenzie as a paralegal in IP practice led by Aleksandr Martynenko, a well-known Ukrainian lawyer whom I sincerely respect. He is currently a partner at the Kyiv office of CMS Cameron McKenna, where I also worked in 2009-2012 under his leadership. He was the first person who had a notable influence on me and who helped forming my professional principles and skills. Moreover, Baker McKenzie's role should not be underestimated given that this in an international law firm included into top rankings and famous for its high standards.

Then, I worked for the well-known "Dubynsky and Osharova" IP-boutique . This is a leading company that works with world's most expensive brands. I was lucky to work under the leadership of Irina Osharova for 3 years; she helped me acquire and develop valuable professional skills and knowledge. I also worked with Mikhail Dubinsky. Anton Koval, Viktoriya Sopilnyak, Yulia Kolchenko joined the company during that period. Today they are top lawyers. I would be very surprised if they are not listed in the same ranking as I do. That is, there are a lot of people who have influenced me and helped me develop my career. I appreciate their help.

It has been almost a year since you have joined the Evris team. Which were the most notable projects handled by you over past six months? What was the most interesting and most successful case during this period?

In fact, it is very interesting to work with Evris. There is a cliché – we are a young and dynamic company. It is true for our law firm. All people here are young and talented. The company has been drastically developing. Our practice is no exception. Many projects can be named among achievements, however they cannot be disclosed to the public, since we are bound by the confidentiality agreements. Among the public projects, it can name the one related to protection of rights to the Global Spirits trademarks, which are used for products exported to China. We were dealing with patent trolling phenomena, i.e. the situation where certain individuals had registered our client's trademarks for themselves and we had to win them back.

It was also interesting to work on an agreement between Mitsubishi Motors Ukraine and Ukrainian talented athlete Dariya Bilova whereby Dariya became the spokesperson of the Mitsubishi brand. She is a judoka and as you know, judo is a Japanese martial art. Therefore, the Japanese were interested in this project. She is also an attractive girl, so she had everything necessary for a Japanese company, and we helped them to make an agreement happen. It was interesting for us.

Share your own recipe for building effective customer relationships?

Effective relationships with the clients are based on several factors. First of all, you should understand the client's business, as well as what exactly this business needs from you. We know that the value of any lawyer is in direct proportion to the amount of material values paid to him for the work done. In other words, the more you know about the business of your client, the better you understand what exactly the client needs, the more appropriate your advice will be. These are well-known ingredients referred to by any lawyer, but they are true.

Another important aspect for maintaining client's relationships is search for compromises. Thus, we as a company have our own interests, and the client has his/her own. Therefore, you should always find some common grounds in order to make our aid and legal advice appropriate and financially feasible. In addition, personal relationships have to be built properly.

In terms of personal relationships, what do you think of sending regular holiday greetings to the clients?

I don't support this idea. High-quality work is my gift to the clients. However, our company holds to democracy, so a partner can decide whether to send holiday greetings and gifts to his/her clients. Of course, clients are pleased to receive small reasonable gifts on holidays. I don't mean the last model Mercedes. I mean some nice small gifts that will remind us to our client and show our care. For example, this New Year, we presented lap blankets branded with the logo of the company. As i speak of this I imagine my client's child or wife wrapped up in this blanket, and the client would be pleased to know that we took care not only about his business but also about the family.

Based on your, experience, how many clients pay attention to the rankings while choosing a law firm?

Rankings are payed attention mainly by those companies which are not familiar with the domestic legal market. Usually, these are Western companies willing to verify expertise their vis-a-vis, their legal service provider. Expertise of a legal advisor is reflected in various rankings In addition, there are different rankings: national, international, etc.

Indeed, international companies want to see that we are also ranked internationally under the principles they are familiar with. It means that a ranking based on the profitability criterion is less informative for the client. If it is based on customer feedbacks or even better on the references of colleagues, the value of such ranking is completely different. However, as far as I know, our Western clients sometimes pay attention to national rankings, as well.

Which changes in IP have had the greatest impact on the development of practice over the past year?

There were only two key changes. First of all, the so-called royalty law was adopted. This is a complete reboot of our royalty collection system. The accreditation process of new collective management organizations authorized to collect royalties in various spheres is currently underway. Deficiencies of our royalty collection system is the main reason we have always been listed in the US sanction list as the country with the highest piracy level. We hope that reboot of this system will help improve the reputation of Ukraine. Today it is difficult to predict how the system will work under the new law but at least the rules have been clarified in more detail. We shall see shortly.

Secondly, the reform of the intellectual property protection system. We had the State IP Service which should be reformed into the National Authority on Intellectual Property. However, I would not criticize the old system. In my opinion, compared with other state authorities, the patent system of Ukraine, i.e. the system of IP protection worked quite efficiently and performed its functions, except for issues related to royalty collection. Examination of applications for inventions, trademarks, industrial designs was carried out quite efficiently, quickly and fairly.

This can be supported by the fact that our agency received the status of a search and expert body of the international patent system under the patent cooperation agreement; the reform has started afterwards. Unfortunately, we can only hope that everything would function like a Swiss watch after the reform's implementation, however currently the situation appears to be less promising. The number of experts has decreased, the period of examination has been extended, the quality remained at approximately same level. However, since financial flows and powers were redistributed the system began to work less effectively. It seems that it is still being reformed but i wish this process had a clear deadline instead of a promise to finish it as soon as possible.

At the same time, a lot of changes were neglected. No changes were made to the copyright law, patent laws, etc. Probably, this is due to the political situation; following submission of the changes to the Parliament the electoral race began; hence, they become less important. Also, we did not see a specialized intellectual property court, as promised. So it did not work. Many foreign colleagues envied us due to the prospects of IP court establishment.

But the selection procedures are still pending...

Yes, but we expected this court would have been established by the end of 2018 as we discussed at a meeting with one of the members of the High Qualification Commission of Judges in the beginning of 2018. Now it is the middle of 2019 and the court has not bee established yet. Therefore, the prospects are disappointing. After all, when I told my western counterparts that we would have a specialized IP court formed they were envy. Turned out, they also felt lack of required level in IP cases their countries given the specifics of this category of cases. There is such a nice initiative in Ukraine, but so far it is only an initiative.

In your opinion, whether Ukrainians become more complient with IP rules? Is there an understanding that content should be duly paid up, that the authors deserve reward and recognition? Is striving for consumption of pirated content still on top?

The market develops based on compromise: each person has his/her own understanding how much she/he would agree to pay for own idea of comfort. Perhaps, $ 5 paid for movie in the Apple Store would be expensive for a retired person, but it's an affordable price for young working people. In addition, pirate resources have their weaknesses. They offer poor quality products and insert ads into their content. Watching such movies with children may be dangerous, because advertising is different. Therefore, people choose platforms with paid content and remain satisfied instead of worrying.

Given that a fair number of such platforms has been growing in Ukraine, this issues is not problematic anymore. Prices for our region have been also decreasing. Therefore, I'm not sure that people become more conscious, it is rather a question of comfort-price ratio. If these indicators reach a certain balance, people get comfortable to pay for the content. People do go to the cinema and pay for watching movies. We don't have "pirate cinemas" where you can get without paying for a ticket. Watching movies at home should be the same.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Authors
 
Some comments from our readers…
“The articles are extremely timely and highly applicable”
“I often find critical information not available elsewhere”
“As in-house counsel, Mondaq’s service is of great value”

Related Topics
 
Related Articles
 
Up-coming Events Search
Tools
Print
Font Size:
Translation
Channels
Mondaq on Twitter
 
Mondaq Free Registration
Gain access to Mondaq global archive of over 375,000 articles covering 200 countries with a personalised News Alert and automatic login on this device.
Mondaq News Alert (some suggested topics and region)
Select Topics
Registration (please scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of www.mondaq.com

To Use Mondaq.com you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.

Disclaimer

The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.

General

Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions