Alicia Lloreda of Colombian firm Lloreda Camacho & Co. discusses the 2019 “Law Firm of the Year” award Lloreda Camacho & Co earned for its Intellectual Property Law practice with Best Lawyers CEO Phillip Greer. Advances in technology, and the firm’s global client base, are constantly challenging Lloreda’s practice, and encouraging ever more creative solutions to complicated ownership questions.
What achievements from this past year are you most proud of for your firm?
I think that our achievements are the result of many years of hard work, dedication, and team building that led us to render the best service to our clients. I would say that one of the biggest achievements from the last year was the consolidation and handling of many patents and trademark portfolios around Central America and Latin America.
Over the years, we’ve built up a team of technical engineers, chemists, and great lawyers that render high quality service to our national and multinational clients. The clients start to request this same service in other countries. As IP law in Latin America is quite similar, with some exception and we worked with many firms in all countries of Latin America in different cases, we created a network and became responsible for the client´s work in many countries. We standardized the service and the quality of work, being responsible for big portfolios. That made us experts in the area, and our practice became much stronger and much more valuable. That was a very important advance and it was very good from the legal and personal point of view.
The other thing is that we are very lucky to work with the industries, which are the ones leading the market in different fields. We have many clients in biotech, technology, pharma, entertainment, etc. These clients encourage us to be creative, aggressive and strategic on a daily basis. This excellent clientele brings us to the new areas of the law. This has enriched us tremendously as a team. Lawyers and technical professionals that start working on the firm, always point out that they wanted to work here for the challenging cases that we have all the time.
What trends have you witnessed within the IP law in the past year?
Everything is focused on artificial intelligence now. We are receiving a lot of patents that involve algorithms for robotics in the field of life sciences and medicine. We are seeing a lot of robotic surgical tools. We're seeing gene and cell therapy patents.
We now have protection for computer-implemented inventions. This is very important as under Colombian law, it is not possible to protect software via patent. We were the first firm to get a national invention for this. We prepared the draft and we got the computer-implemented invention patent not only in Colombia but in the United States, in Europe, and in Japan. We were the first firm too, to get the patent prosecution highway PPH in Japan.
Over the years, we’ve built up a team of technical engineers, chemists, and great lawyers that render high quality service to our national and multinational clients.
Do you see IP law changing in Columbia in the coming years?
It will need to change. IP law needs to go faster than all the other areas of the law, because the law needs to keep up with tech and science. We have hopes for the current administration, because it has the will to change some laws that have needed change for a long time.
How has the rise of FinTech in Columbia influenced the IP sector?
I think intellectual property plays a crucial role in the development of FinTech in Colombia and in Latin American companies when it comes to protecting their intellectual property, either through registration or patents or copyright protection. All of these new technologies need protection.
How has technology more generally impacted your legal practice?
Completely. First, as we talked before, because of all the technology we need to protect. Our clients come to us with the latest technology daily, seeking protection. They ask us how they can protect their work in Colombia or in other countries in Latin America. We must be very creative, depending on what they bring, we decide with them, if it will be protected via computer-implemented invention, or software or a trade secret. Internally, in our firm, we need top technology, as we handle big portfolios in Latin America and Central America for a lot of companies. More and more often, the clients want to assess our data system and see the status of their applications, registrations, and everything. Our IP department provides this service and our IT department and systems answer the client´s needs.
How does your firm stay agile against these competitors in this field?
First, we have a great team. Human talent plays a big role. We are very picky in the people we hire and how we train them. We value training, we project them for the future. But also, we train our client's teams, we train on how to protect their ideas and how to turn these ideas into projects that become IP assets.