Zilber IP Law. Patents. Management
What prompted you to establish your own firm – and what advice would you offer to others considering taking such a step?
I wanted to be close to companies and entrepreneurs with strategic IP issues, where intellectual property is a game changer. I also wanted to collaborate with others and shape our profession; technology is changing, clients’ needs are changing and our profession must change too – although it is not entirely clear how we should adapt.
My main focus is to follow my clients’ evolving needs over time and work closely with them. Like any entrepreneur, I strive to identify which services and platforms are most beneficial for clients. The coronavirus outbreak found workloads at my new firm ramping up. The crisis has highlighted the need for flexibility and innovation and has prompted me to be even more focused and sharp.
How have client demands changed over the past five years and how have you adapted to meet these needs?
These are extraordinary times, with Big Data, Industry 4.0, collaborative innovation and remote working affecting everyday life. In response, companies are innovating differently and extracting value in new ways. Clients’ needs are changing and their expectations from counsel reflect this. My firm offers clients traditional services as well as innovative ones. For example, we customise IP AI tools for companies, carry out in-house IP management responsibilities as an outside service and apply tech-transfer methodologies at key stages.
Clients seek flexible strategic advice early on and continue to need it throughout their lifecycle. Pre-seed and early-stage start-ups face decisions that previously arose only later on. Multi-dimensional legal advice is a must today – even the best patent protection may not suffice. Counsel should use integrated solutions, incorporating all of the protection measures available in the IP toolbox and place greater attention on prevention.
You have been entrusted by a spread of companies, start-ups and government organisations. What are the key skills for a top-level IP professional to hone?
The key skill that is appreciated by clients is the ability to incorporate business, technology and law into one whole legal structure. I bring a lot of experience, knowledge and creativity to the job, as well as the commitment to continue learning and growing.
Communication between business, technology and legal functions is vital. Counsel should proactively initiate conversations. Attorneys convey complex ideas to clients and support them in making highly uncertain decisions; thus, we must be able to justify our recommendations and distil a clear opinion.
The best business outcome is always a result of teamwork. I like working with my clients and care a lot about their success. I often find myself to be in the best position to advance cooperation. I believe that counsel are increasingly judged according to their teamwork skills and their ability to facilitate collaboration.
You are chair of the IPAA and co-founder of the Israeli Forum for In-House IP Managers, as well as a board member of the AIPPI Israel conferences. What value do such organisations bring to the wider IP ecosystem and why should lawyers prioritise them?
In Israel, we see more and more patent attorneys entering the profession through paths other than big law firms. Also, companies are starting to recruit patent attorneys as in-house IP managers rather than appoint engineers, as was previously the case. Consequently, the role of professional organisations is to address training and ongoing development. The IPAA is active in bringing together industry and law firm attorneys; it also provides public feedback about new legislation and deals with other topics relevant to the entire IP ecosystem.
How would you characterise the IP landscape in Israel and what are the biggest challenges facing practitioners?
IP practitioners in Israel face the same challenges as colleagues worldwide: the growing speed of business, how to preserve quality of service under a tight budget, the management of global portfolios, higher assimilation between legal practice areas, changing revenue models and alternative legal service providers.
The Israeli innovation ecosystem is highly technological and multinational; therefore, Israeli practitioners are experienced in IP protection in multiple jurisdictions and adept at working globally. Driven by the value and pricing of service, the quality of the Israeli Patent Office proceedings and the adoption of legal tech solutions, the Israeli IP ecosystem offers local and global players unique opportunities. Players looking to optimise their patent procurement processes may thus find Israel and Israeli practitioners an attractive option.
Einav Zilber founded Zilber IP Law, Patents, Management in 2019 to offer business-oriented IP management and legal services to corporates, start-ups and entrepreneurs, focusing on multi-disciplinary and multi-dimensional issues. Ms Zilber has a bachelor’s in physics and mathematics from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and an LLB from Tel Aviv University. A former division counsel for Applied Materials Israel and India, and an attorney at a leading law firm, Ms Zilber is chair of the Israel Patent Attorney Association.