You are recognised as one of the most innovative practitioners across the Asia-Pacific. What has been your favourite creative project and why?
In the last few years, my focus has been to identify an industry and scale it up, not just from an IP perspective but also to ensure that the industry at large understands the commercial potential behind such IP led growth. One example of this was the fashion industry. This relatively young practice was recognised by the Luxury Law Alliance (London) and we won the award for the best independent global practice for the years 2020 and 2022.
This natural progression seeped over to our practice on scaling up festivals in India. In the last year, I have been concentrating my energies on developing and establishing a practice on heritage laws. India has a lot of locked wealth in its culture, textiles, architecture, food, insignia, jewellery and so on, and I have made it my mission to make all the royal families in the country aware of their ability to monetise such treasures. In fact, the Indian government has set up a parliamentary committee to verify and identify royal emblems and I have been selected as one of the experts on the committee. I am also focusing my energies on the SME / MSME sector now.
Our practice on advertising law recently won a national award, while our monetisation practice has increased our value to clients. In fact, I have also conceptualised and advocated the concept of ROLE (ie, Return on Legal Expenses) to ensure that legal function is not seen as a cost centre but as an advantage for the client.
In what ways have your clients benefitted from your innovative solutions?
I have taken the initiative to spark innovation in the provision of, and access to, legal services. provides a perspective on the innovations, innovative thinking and innovators that have already begun to transform the market for legal services. I believe that innovation is the backbone of successful work. I have achieved an unprecedented feat by succeeding in more than 3,500 resolutions and decisions in the last two years to safeguard the interest of brands and outperformed previous records of successful oppositions.
Given the current global volatility, what are your top tips for future proofing an IP strategy?
The role of a lawyer has changed only from protection and enforcement to partnering with the client for IP creation, identification and enhancing its value, as well as creating strategies to monetise since the value of these largely depend on intangibles. On the account of past valuation of intangibles, clients are often unaware of the unidimensional potential of their intellectual property and the power locked in intangibles, complementing the nature of their business. We thought of the scenario as a chemical equation where a good strategy would act as a catalyst to proliferate growth to create clouds of unique value propositions, new business prospects that are unconventional and uniquely places the client as a market leader.
What advice would you give to someone considering a career in intellectual property?
A lawyer’s role in the current climate is no longer restricted to providing input only aligned around legislation. It has become imperative for them to also have knowledge of, and interface with, other business disciplines such as marketing, finance, sales and corporate governance considerations to provide a holistic opinion. I feel that the next generation of professionals must not only be mentored in the law, but also on these other facets of business that are inextricably linked with intellectual property. I try to inculcate that within my team through extensive knowledge-building sessions.
What is one change you would make to the IP landscape in India and do you think it is likely to happen?
My vision is to take intellectual property to the masses in India and to ensure that India scales up and is recognised as an innovation hub. Intellectual property is a big magnet for investment. There is no limitation in achieving this as I feel that if the ecosystem is correct – if the infrastructure supporting intellectual property is legal, regulatory, participatory and collaborative – then it is possible.
Recognised as one of India’s top IP attorneys, senior partner Safir Anand is head of trademarks and contractual and commercial intellectual property at Anand and Anand. He has over 25 years’ experience in advising and representing clients from diverse industries, from fast-moving consumer goods to pharmaceuticals, software, food, media, sports, entertainment, fashion and government. Mr Anand provides wholesome solutions to multidimensional business requirements including brand creation, valuation, risk mitigation, licensing and franchising.