Noerr in Spain- different countries, different customs?
Elke Burkhardt | Intern | Media, IT & IP | Alicante:
After spending one year studying abroad in León, a small town in the north of the Iberian peninsula, I also intended to complete a student internship in Spain before returning to Germany. I had already worked for Noerr in Munich as a student assistant in the Media, IP & IT field. At a Noerr Practice event in patent law taking place in Munich, I got to know my two present supervisors, the lawyers Tobias Dolde and Michael Hawkins from the Noerr office in Alicante. This resulted in the opportunity to do a student internship at Noerr Alicante IP, S.L.
Before starting the internship, I was very excited to find out what would await me in a German law firm in Spain. Noerr Alicante IP, S.L. advises clients on all matters relating to the EUIPO (European Union Intellectual Property Office), meaning Union trademarks, Community designs and international trademark protection. Since the office is very specialised, I was able to gain a detailed insight into trademark law and learn about this specialist field. This gave me a comprehensive picture of the subject matter.
The Noerr office in Alicante has existed since mid-2011. This meant that there was still quite a lot of administrative work to be done. However, the activities that I performed were very varied. My first task was to handle the "handover" of all Union trademarks and Community designs from Noerr in Munich to Alicante. Subsequently, I formulated and dispatched legal documents (letters, objections, complaints etc.) in Spanish, German and English to lawyers and clients all over the world. I also submitted registrations of new Union trademarks, objections and applications for cancellation or nullity of a Union trademark online to the EUIPO via MyPage, created and closed files in line with internal procedures, got to know the Patricia software program and completed file data, oversaw deadlines (objections, cooling-off periods, extensions etc.), and produced translations (mainly Spanish-German and vice-versa). I performed online trademark searches on Polymark, created a new client list and prepared pitch presentations for attracting new clients. In my opinion, the responsible tasks that I was given in the office enabled me to learn a lot as a student and simultaneously to make a contribution to the Noerr firm.
Whenever I had questions, I was able to turn to Tobias and Michael (it is customary to use first names in Spain) and the whole team. They always made sure of a cooperative team spirit and a correspondingly pleasant working atmosphere in the practice. The team gave me a very warm welcome on my first day and entrusted me with responsible tasks from then on, because I already had experience from Munich. I was quickly up to speed and part of the team.
The office languages are English, Spanish and German. Team members sometimes speak French among themselves, but this was not a problem for me, as I had learned that language at school. Since I had already spent a year in an English-speaking country after my final school exams and had been living in Spain for nearly a year when I started the student internship, I also found communicating in English and Spanish very pleasant. The working atmosphere was very international – this too was something that I enjoyed very much.
The firm also enabled me to go on a "training day" to the EUIPO. Since the firm is in constant contact with the EUIPO, it was very interesting for me to see where my applications to the EUIPO are processed and how they are then handled.
On 31 August we also had the office's "Noerr Alicante Day Out", when I was able to get to know the team better and our team spirit was strengthened further. We spent a whole day on a yacht and sailed from Dénia along the Costa Blanca, passing sights such as the beautiful Calas in Marina Alta.
I enjoyed the internship very much, and it has confirmed my decision to specialise in the core area of competition law, intellectual property and media law at Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich. The internship has given me practical experience of the importance of Union trademarks and designs, which will also grow further in the future, and a deeper insight into intellectual property rights. The internship with Noerr Alicante IP, S.L. was one of the best in my education to date. Despite a full working routine, every day was full of new tasks and small "adventures". The period of my internship enabled me not only to improve my language skills but also to gain very personal access to the country’s cultural aspects. This time spent abroad is, for me, a unique, individual experience, through which I have grown not only in my knowledge but also as a person.