Are IP Principles Different in Latin America?

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This episode features Alvaro Ramirez Bonilla, Founder, CEO, and Chairman of BR Latin America IP. He has over 24 years of expertise practicing intellectual property and international business law in Colombia and throughout Latin America.

Show Notes

Alvaro Ramirez Bonilla explored the informal nature of Latin America's economy and its significant impact on trademark practices. He highlighted the crucial need to understand the value of a brand, emphasizing how effective trademark strategies can enhance a company's value and competitive edge in the market.

In this episode, we’ll also discuss: 

  • His Journey in IP Law
  • How Business Design and Naming Unfold Across Latin America
  • Trademark Implications of Similar Business Names
  • Branding and intellectual property in Latin America
  • The Journey of Alvaro: From Law Student to Entrepreneur
  • Copyright laws for software and work made for hire
  • Copyright protection for software and guidelines for naming conventions
  • Branding and naming strategies for businesses
  • Importance of understanding IP law for businesses
  • His own Definition of Brand

LinkedIn: Alvaro Ramirez Bonilla

Website: BR Latin America


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Shireen: Hello, Alvaro, I'm delighted to welcome you to the Brand Tuned podcast, especially in view of your diverse background, which I'm sure we'll go into as we discuss things during this conversation. But for now, I wonder if you could just briefly introduce yourself and tell us a bit more about what you do.

Alvaro's Journey in IP Law

Alvaro: Thank you, Shireen for inviting me to your podcast. I'm a big fan of your podcast, I always follow it. So I'm very honored to be here. Well, my name is Alvaro Ramirez Bonilla, I was born and raised in Colombia, I became I became a lawyer in Colombia, but I also lived in France, I lived for many years in France, and he lived many years in, in the US, especially in Miami. And, and now I'm also a Spanish citizen. So basically, I started very early in my career working with IP, I started filing my first patent in 1999. So that's, like 24 years of practice. And I do practice in a way that is different from most of the lawyers working on IP is that I lead one of the very few practice that has activities in all the Latin American region. So we handle international clients that want to file at the same time in Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, Colombia and Peru. So that's the type of clients we we have. And well, that that so I have quite a bit of experience, working on IP, many years, many countries, different clients from all around the world. So I hope I can share this experience with your business. Yes,

Shireen: Well, I'm especially keen to discuss the civil law countries approach towards things like, you know, business design, because I know how things work in the UK and US, but when people are designing a business, you know, choosing a name and so on, what do they tend to do in the countries in which you practice? Do they tend to go to a lawyer first do they have to register a trademark? How does it all work?

How Business Design and Naming Unfold Across Latin America

Alvaro: So one thing you have to understand about Latin America is that is very informal, most of the economy is informal. So there is a lot of informality and informal, they don't they don't get lawyers, they don't they get tax advices. And they after some time, if the business is growing, they will come up with the trademark. So that that can be like 15 years later, once, once they have paid all once they are sure the business is working, that they are making money, they have bought a new car that they have, oh, and then later they will come and see if if they if they want to register the trademark. That's for the most of the SMEs. Of course you have big companies that have a very organized way of creating new brands. And they have big portfolios, and they will make sure the brand is available and ready to use. But that's like the corporate way of doing it, which is basically the one that has been used by all the corporations around the world and we have some of those very big companies that will take the care of launching a trademark just after they have made sure that everything's in order. But for the smaller companies, the process is very informal. And depending on the sensitivity the owner has to Were to his branding, he will probably go to designer first. But it's not always the case, it's just in case he really cares about it, then he will try to build the brand. And sometimes we work with these designers, when they see that they have a client that is serious about it, they want to make sure that everything works. But most of it is just like, whatever it works. Now, okay, it's very, very informal.

Shireen: So is trademark infringement, not an issue over there. I mean, say somebody's using a name that's similar to a big company would then you

Alvaro: Have like two cases, you have different scenarios, for example, you have piracy. So you have,

Shireen: I'm not really talking about piracy, it's more by accident, they've chosen a name that is too similar to a bigger company.

Alvaro: Yes. So if it's similar to a bigger company, the bigger company will make sure that they know that they are infringing the trademark, and actually, it will depend, as is very informally, it will depend on the greater formality of the company, if you have a very formal company, they don't really care that much about what can happen. If you have a company that is getting to a bigger size that have more clients, and you receive a letter of deceased cease and desist from a lawyer, then you probably will pay attention because you don't want to get in troubles. So the system works in all in all the countries works the same. But normally, people, when they receive a letter of season disease, they will, they will take care of lays there, I was talking about pirates, because pirates, they, they have another business mentality. So they're in a boot, they will fix it in another way. But most of the company they will have and depending on the jurisdiction, the the remedies can be faster or not bad in general, when two companies that have some stake are in discussion, and they will take care of it. 

Trademark Implications of Similar Business Names

Shireen: Okay, So say you have a bigger business that wants to go about things the right way. And they want to launch a new brand. Why do they know that they need to check names or, you know, do marketers that might work in their companies? Do they know about trademarks? Or yes,

Alvaro: There is a lot of people telling them about that and local offices. They're promoting the use of trademarks. I mean, there is some trademark awareness. One of the problems we have in some of these jurisdictions is that the fees are very high. So is a very expensive process. And most of these early stage companies are with few years they don't want to spend the money on it is not that they are not aware. He's just that they don't want to spend some money on it. Because trademark registration is not something they see the value until they get in troubles. Yeah. So I had I had clients that we the income of when they reach the one or $2 million there, they realize they have a trademark and they want to reduce their ending happens that they can't. So it's already late. But I think that's like something that happens even bigger economies and more developed.

Shireen: Yeah. So if they want to rebrand to would they go to a lawyer? And what's involved really mean? How would you help them.

Alvaro: So let's say they already have discovered they have a problem, and they have to change their brand. So at that moment is most likely that there is a lawyer already involved. And if he's a good trademark lawyer, he will help them to choose a brand that will feed and know will not have any problem. And he will he will help them to have a way to avoid future problems. But normally, that happens after they have a first issue. And so when you have serial entrepreneurs, they already learned that lesson. So next time they do it, they will do it right.

Branding and Intellectual roperty in Latin America

Shireen: Okay. So essentially the way I see it is when you're designing a business, you're creating intellectual property because the name is intellectual property, the logo is intellectual property. The all the ways in which the business is going to be recognized is protectable through into intellectual property, whether people register things or not. So is that similar in your country?

Alvaro: I think that in the countries developed countries, the UK, the USA, there is more an awareness of the branding as something that is very important for your brand, or your company. And more than the legal procedure, they will, they will try to spend some time designing a brand and they have a clear idea of what is a brand, I have to admit that even bigger companies here, even if they have registered their trademark, they don't work that much as a brand. One of the things I do every time i i do lectures on these is I try to explain how the brand is the one that creates value. And that will will allow the company to have a bigger market share or to have a higher profit. And so I think 20 years ago, when I started trademarks, I was telling me, you have to register the trademark, you have to do these and these all the legal but now I don't talk about it. I just say if you manage it, right, if you do it the right way, that's the way to capture the value. But I feel that in. And this is not a generalization because we have very big brands in Latin America, we have Corona for beer, which is probably one of the most well known. We have different brands in the region, there are famous Juan Valdez for coffee in Colombia. So these people, they are very serious about it. So I'm not talking about those cases, because those they know how to play. But most of the companies, sometimes they focus more more on producing than on on the branding. And, and I always tell them, you have to learn about the brand. And you have to learn how to add value to see what clients are looking for how you want to create this brand, that is going to make you show that you can sell more or and have a higher margin. But, but it's something that is not he's not completely aware there are very few brands that are created already with that online. Most likely they just put a name, that seems to them nice. But they they they most of them, they will focus that much on branding.

Shireen: Okay, it's it's a question of degree, I think, because there are also a lot of businesses who don't really understand what a brand is. They think it's a logo here in the UK. But let's go back to you yourself. When did you start your own business? And what did you do for your business when you started?

The Journey of Alvaro: From Law Student to Entrepreneur

Alvaro: Well, actually, it started when I was very young. I was already I was at law school. That was in time 99. And at that time I wanted to start. That was the time of Boom. Yeah. So I was focusing on building my company in 99. So I was studying law, but I started taking business classes. And I took one of the first e commerce class that was in Columbia, there was a guy in my class that got sue for domain names. And that was the first time there was a one of these cases in Latin America. So nobody knew about it. So these guy came to the teacher and tell told him, Look, I'm studying this library online. And I receive a letter from these big law firm. What do I do? And the teacher say, you know, the, the only lawyer of the only law student here is Alberto. So talk to him. And I have to admit, I have no idea. No clues of trademarks, no clues of domain names. But I say okay, I will help you. And he was one of these very big law firms. And I was law student. And I won that case. So yeah. So that's how I got into was it? Yeah, it was was very worried. That was in 2000. So the, the Domain Name System dispute is started in 1999. And this case was in February 2000. So it was very, very new. So that's how I got involved into IP. And later, I

Shireen: Was wanting them to stop using the domain.

So they, there was they were there was another startup, which was founded by some important people, and they were, they were using the brand Barbados and it was at that time, but these students found that puppy. He was looking for some books, he put Peters online, he knew that it was available. And he register actually, he was not using it. But that's interesting because the company which was founded and had venture capitalist didn't have the trademark. Right. So they haven't written

Shireen: The name either.

They have, they had used the name, but I don't remember the details of the case like it's 20 something years ago. But let's say there was not an easy case. So when I wanted it made, it made me a little bit famous. So let's say that I was still in law school. And I was able to take care cases as, which is one of the oldest airlines in the world. That is the second oldest airline that word after KLM, one of the biggest in America. So that was one case I had while I was still in law school. Well, another domain issue. Yeah, domain, which now values millions now.

Shireen: That's specialism in domains?

Alvaro: So I think yes, you know, in the early 2000s, there was a lot of activity with that, because all the companies that realized they had to come to the digital world, they didn't register the domain names. And there was a lot of people that the people who knew a little bit more what was happening on the internet, start registering those names. And it became like, it became it became a problem for the companies. But now, I mean, now we have a lot of domain names is not an issue as it was at that time.

Shireen: So that got you into trademarks and IP. So

Alvaro:  That's how I got into trademarks and IP. Yeah. So then I got my first client, which was from South Africa. And at that time, I didn't have a name. And they were like, very serious law firm and given the name, but so I did, they asked me something. And I had to create my first brand in a night working to be to look more professional. That was 99 years ago, that 99. So that was 24 years ago.

Shireen: So and what's the name of your business?

Alvaro: So the name is br Latin American? IP? VR for my family name and Latin America, because we focus on that America. So that's why that's the name.

Shireen: So have you registered your trademark?

Alvaro: Oh, yes, I do. And I even have various as a lawyer, I have. I have two more brands. So I the way I is the way we work is that we give to each practice their own brand. Okay, so we have also an immigration practice. And it's called Plan B. Legal? Yeah. So that's the immigration and we have another for corporate investment finance brand. And it's called Bonilla. So we have different brands in the company. So I probably one of the few lawyers that has three brands for the same low price, I mean, the same corporation. For most of the theory,

Shireen: It sounds like

Alvaro: Yes, I am. Thank you.

Shireen: Good. Well, actually, one question I have is, the law in in most countries that I'm aware of is that if you pay a third party, service provider to create something for you like software or a logo, you don't own the copyright in it, unless you get it assigned to you in writing. Or there are your employee? Or how does it work in Latin America with that sort of work? Have a work.

Copyright Laws for Software and Work Made for Hire

Alvaro: I have to tell you that I never been aware of a case where the designer sue the company or using the brand they they signed on based on copyrights. So is well accepted. As a business practice. Maybe if you go to the legal details, you're going to come to a different conclusion. But he's well accepted as a business practice, that once you get paid for creating a brand, that brand is no longer yours, and you cannot, you cannot claim any rights. Now, if you go to the legal side of it, and you start, like question may arise, that the brand can be from someone but copyrights that are from someone else. Yes. And normally, depending on the country, you will need some formalities to transfer or not. If he's considered that work made for hire. So or work made by an employee? That will be a different situation

Shireen: or hire, you would get an assignment of the cop say it's software which matters?

Alvaro: Yes, I. So there was a big discussion for a long time and I worked on software for a long time and for works made for hire and software. Normally, they do need to have a proper assignment of rights. That has been changing lately. And the they have they have in Colombia, I'm not telling you about other countries, but in Colombia, they have arrived to a conclusion that work made for hire applies to bigger works like a software.

Shireen: So what work made for hire?

Alvaro: What does it mean something that you requested somebody to make, especially for, you know, so if I asked you to design my brand, and I give you the instructions and the general idea of what I want, and then you're building it, because I hire you, and and you get compensated for that. So that will be considered as work for hire.

Shireen: So you, you don't own the copyright? Or do you still need

Alvaro: and that means that when you have the work made for hire, you own the copyrights. Okay, so if I hire some of them, no, you have the copyrights that you can never transfer there, whether we have in this civil law is the you know, that we have like two types of copyrights, you have copyrights related to money issues, those can be transfer and other copyrights that we call Morrell copyrights.

Shireen: I cannot be trusted with something or painted something you have more Yeah.

Alvaro: Yes, you have the one of the moral rights is the right to be considered the author. So you can never give that away. I mean, the brand can be from the company, and they have the right to put it wherever they want. But they can never say that they if they if they are asked, they have to put the name of the person who design it.

Shireen: Doesn't that mean another designer can't then rework the logo? If if the company wants to change the logo? Can they get a different designer to rework it? No,

Alvaro: I haven't. I mean, I understand completely what you're saying. And this is something that can happen. I mean, legally, if the say if the if they change the the the work in a way that it affects the morality of the intellectual rights of the first created, eventually he can do it. I haven't seen a case like that. I seen it in the books. And I think if somebody wants to fight, maybe they will have something. But I hardly see that is going to go very far. And there is something that is, is different from civil law for I don't know how he's in the UK, but in the US, you know, they there is this incentive to sue because you're planning to get millions of dollars, and everything's like huge. And so, so you're trying to become rich with legal action in these countries.

Shireen: If there's a very important piece of software that you've written. In the UK, if if the software developer didn't assign the copyright, then the user can use it, but they can't sell it to third parties. Only the copywriter no could sell it, unless assigned copyright in it.

Copyright Protection for Software and Guidelines for Naming Conventions

Alvaro: So that's exactly the same here. That's, I mean, if if there is no mechanism that he was assigned to the other person, you will have problems. I'm telling you that sometimes they can be very strict for a very long time, Microsoft was not considered the owner of the copyrights of their software, because they didn't bring the assignment of all the 1000s of software's engineers that are coders that participate in that product. So for some time, it worked, like very difficult for companies. Then Colombia signed a free trade agreement with the US and the there was a special chapter on on on copyrights. Actually, it was part of the team that negotiated that agreement in that chapter. And, and one of the concerns they had us had was exactly that, that they made the life very difficult for a corporation Shouldn't to own the copyrights of the employees. So for example, the case of Colombia that went in, we move to a position where it's easier for companies to make sure they are the owner of the copyrights of the, of the software. And I, I work a lot on software, I think. And that's my personal opinion that the the approach we have in Latin America that we put software protection, as a copyright protection is, is not the right way to do it. You have also we don't have patents on software. But I think copyright

Shireen: in Colombia is a country where copyright needs to be registered,

Alvaro: know, like most of the countries that are part of the convention, you don't need you don't need you don't need to, to reduce it to get the rights you get the register, but there is a public registration system that works. Just to make sure it I mean, just to help you in case you have to prove. So that will be evidence that you have you are the copyright owner, but he does he's not the one that creates the right. What creates the right is the fact that you Yeah, you put the you create it and you put it in a way that can be reproduced. No. Okay, so. So the copyright works like that. And for a long time, we were very protective of the authors. And but now we are cuffs shift more to protecting the company, especially on the software side. And I think it's right, because the software is is nothing like a book or painting. I mean, he's created by a person, but he does

Shireen: not work in the same way as

Alvaro: maybe he's a creative work. I mean, I myself, I know how to write code, and I know that you can write the same function in different ways. Yes, yeah. And there are some there are some ones, some ways that you write the code that is going to be faster than another, and that's probably very valuable. So there is there is creativity inside. But uh, but paint or a book doesn't change in time doesn't need to change in time, he's already fixed. And that it should be kept like that. But a copier software that doesn't change in time, it's a software that is going to die. Yeah, you need to make sure that you can modify it. You and and there's a book, or I say a recipe on the book recipe is not able to cook, but the software is able to perform something. Yeah. So is is completely different. And I support the idea that should be like a special copyright, or a special legal treatment for software different from what we do with books, and they put it there because they didn't have a place to put it. So they, they they once they have the problem what we do with copyrights, we put it with, with software rights, we put it with the copyrights, but it's not the place it should be in my opinion.

Shireen: Yeah, I know what you mean. So in terms of names, do people tend to choose descriptive names and and then find later on that they essentially have nothing that they can protect, that they can't use other people using similar names? How does that?

Alvaro: That's funny, because actually, I wrote something called the empanada, how to use the patty, the I wrote an article about that. And so everybody there was like a trend in a P in the time that you use the as brand the name of the place. So you have the

Shireen: Oh, no, actually boom was full of that, you know, and And all that. Yeah.

Alvaro: So at that time, exactly. So everybody was trying to get like and try to build a brand around that. So that's something that still happens is being less of a trend lately. You better beginning with It was like that.

Shireen: Yeah. But I find people's tendency is to choose very descriptive names.

Alvaro: Yeah, but it stays like that. Yeah, same over there. That exactly the same there is most of the cases there is no more creativity.

Shireen: So protects such a name and in comparison,

Alvaro: Sadly. Exactly. You cannot or in case you do it, you have a very Every week trademark, no. Yeah. Yeah. So that's something to avoid. And I always tell them try to get something that is not that obvious. And so descriptive.

Branding and Naming Strategies for Businesses

Shireen: I find actually that often, designers and marketers make the same mistake as business owners, many of them tend to choose very descriptive names. Yeah,

Alvaro:  I don't know if actually, I am not sure is that a big mistake, because and this is something as you say, I'm an entrepreneur. So I, I, I tend I, you know, for for some companies, it's important to have a brand. But for others, it's not that important, what is important is to sell No, and not all the business react the same to branding. So if you have like a hot dog place, that sell hotdogs in a corner, close to a metro station, the brand is not really important you and you can put the big announcement is had hotdogs and that's the only thing that is matter. Because you don't really need a brand. What makes people buy used your location. And it happened with other things, is sometimes it's not that important the brand, but is more important how they get, for example, and this is related to email to marketing to digital marketing, is more important to be register as ranking in Google is more important than having a non descriptive trademark. So let's say you and I were lawyers, so we get our brand will be trademark lawyers. Yeah, yeah. Because people will not look for your name, they're gonna look for a trademark lawyer. And if you get like the trademark, you will come up first in the search. So you can say a trademark lawyer is a very bad brand, because it's completely descriptive. But the clients say, I don't really care, because what I care the most is to be ranking in Google.

Shireen: Yeah, except when Google then changes its approach, like, you know, doesn't appear if you, if you're looking for books, it'll, there was a time when if you had, you would always be at the top.

Alvaro: But it's still the name of the domain name has some influence on the search engine optimization. And also, when you look for when you're looking for search engine, on media on social media, or when you walk in, I mean, they still the name has some weight on the on the way the you looking for. So I think for those companies is good. I mean, he's better when you have Amazon has no relation with anything, you have a big brand that everybody's on top of mind of people. But for some companies, sometimes the strategy is the other and some and some other companies they have for the same services, they have different brands. And they just try to see which one works better. Yeah, I

Shireen: so important to decide what your ambition is, when you are starting a business really. But for a business that has aspirations to become bigger to become maybe like Amazon, then starting with a descriptive name isn't going to cut it, maybe they could experiment for a while to test their concept. But essentially, without a brand name, they're not going to get very far.

Alvaro: I totally agree with you. And that's why that's what we tend to tell our clients. But lately, I discovered that they owe their brands because you know, there are brands that are very descriptive that cannot be reduced for brands, but they sell No, and they sell a lot and the name that you think is not very important sells. Now, the problem of these brands, they're weak, and somebody can, can copy it. And so that's the problem. We as lawyers tend to say no, you know, you can sell by the day, somebody noticed that you're selling too much, they're gonna try to copy you and you will not have that many options because you're brand new.

Shireen: So yeah, they have a very expensive litigation. You know, they do but they haven't really got strong, right. So they end up spending a lot of money. Suing but

Alvaro Yes, I totally agree with you. I mean, I understand exactly, because that's what I tell my clients, but from my business perspective, and what I see is, as I told you, people don't register their brands until they shared the brand is making money. At least enough to pay all the fees and I mean, if you don't have investors, probably you have investors who do it from the beginning, but if he's like an organic In a company that is growing on their own income, yeah, they will not spend, they will not care that much of the beginning of the brand. And if he's descriptive of that, they just care if the sales are not because they need income to keep going. Later at some stage, they will discover the brand was not that good are they probably is already been registered by another company or something, they have a problem. But But it depends, as you said, is depends mostly on what people are saying, if people are they need to launch something fast, and they have if they if they have a product that has the name and they will probably have the selfie stick store is better than a name that nobody can relate to the selfies and so they can they have to do with a big effort to brand it.

Shireen: Some names that excellent for marketing purposes, but not from for branding purposes. But it Yes, not knowing this is the issue.

Importance of Understanding IP Law for Businesses

Alvaro: Yes, as long as you know what you're doing. Exactly. As long as you know that you're doing so yeah. So let's say you have the self this selfie if sales stick selfie stick or selves. Okay, yeah. So So you have that brand, like or the Yeah, and then your supply Grafana store. And the microphone store works very good. When somebody comes and comes and say the Microsoft Store, too, then you have a problem? Yeah. Because all the effort you have put on? Yeah, he's gonna be going through the competitors. And that's not because of the competitors, your fault. Yeah. So some strategies that at the beginning seems to make sense later on, maybe they don't.

Shireen: But it's really understanding what you're doing is the important thing. And by the sounds of it, the principles are pretty similar, whether you're located in the UK or Colombia, in terms of understanding the approach, you know, whether you're going to be using a descriptive name, or not,

Alvaro: I, I work on trademarks in different countries. And, and I, I do it because it's easier. If I was going to do family law, that will be very complicated, because every single jurisdiction will have their different rules, but intellectual property after we have the TRIPS Agreement, and we have all these Paris Convention, and we have have all these, so they're basically very similar. And the, so it's easy to understand how it works mostly in every country. Because, yeah, you have some, some small difference, but he's basically the same.

Shireen: This is actually the problem I see with IP is that people assume it's just law, and therefore they don't teach it on business. In business schools. They don't include IP, or if they do, they talk about patterns. But the IP that's relevant to brands is actually business design, it's not going to be different in different countries. And that's really what I'm trying to do is to prove somehow that these principles are the same the world over, they're not about whether you're UK law or US law, there are some principles that are very similar wherever you are, and that should be taught by business schools, to their students.

Alvaro: A, I totally agree. We are developing IP program for a business called hearing in Colombia. And I'm invited, I was invited many times to MBA classes. And that's something that is is important, because people are not always aware of how it works. And the basic rules. Yeah. And so the market is they they basically have no idea of it. And I should think everybody in marketing should should know something about it is like everybody that works on contracts, has to know something about taxes. No.

Shireen: or if you're a journalist, you have to understand the laws that apply to journalists, you know,

Alvaro: so yeah, if you're the journalist that covers a court, you better know, the procedures of the court. No. So I think market is market is should have a better understanding and that's probably something that steals space to work with them.
So business rules, business schools, we They need to introduce it in programs, because they teach MBA students and at most they might invite a lawyer to speak for an hour or two.

Shireen: But that's not enough.

Alvaro: Yeah, but that's something. And this is a discussion that, you know, I was, I was a lecturer in universities for many years. And now they don't invite me anymore. And I don't accept invitations neither. Because the first thing I say to this law students is, you're wasting your time here. Why? Because when you come, let's say you, you become like the in house of a company, nobody will pay attention to you. You will be like the guy who doesn't allow to do things. Now. You're gonna be no.

Shireen: Are you speaking to law students or
to law students?

Alvaro: Yeah. First of all, I say there is too many lawyers. Second, we are becoming very relevant because of all these AI things. I, yesterday, my wife asked me if I can help her with a contract. I say asking Chad DDP is gonna do it better than me and faster. So she got her contract for his MMA thing she needed to, to have like a small disclaimer for something, it's a go to chap. GPT. And do it. So you have all these AI is going to take away most of the work blue lawyers normally do. And it's already happening. I mean, they took less than a year to happen. No. There are too many lawyers there ei replacing most of the lawyers work. And, and there is something about our lawyers is that we don't we are not perceived to add value. No,

Shireen: yeah, it's like, there's a cost and overhead cost, or we are

Alvaro: exactly so the lawyer is is somebody you have to pay, because otherwise, maybe you get a sanction, or you get a fine or Yeah. But he's not somebody who adds value to the business and is like a big challenge. So you said that the MBAs they should they should teach law. And I always say, and for lawyers, they should teach the business. Because if, if you're a lawyer, and you don't understand the business, how it works, then you will end up becoming the no guy, you cannot do these, you cannot do that. And nobody wants to hear him. Maybe they can pay, but they will pay as low as possible. Because he's not somebody that that helps you. And then you have the marketing guy who comes and say, we're going to do this, and we're going to do that. And the sales guys will bring some money. So everybody in the company in that team is more important than the lawyer now. Yeah. So that's what I'm saying to my, to my students, you can be probably the smartest guy in the room. Yeah, the has who has a better brain that has a better way of, of interpreting of meaning and understanding you have spent, I studied both at the same time I study Law and Business at the same time. And for me, the marketing class was right on the on the woods. I mean, it was nothing compared to what I was doing when I was studying law law was like very dense and difficult and complicated. The marketing was very easy. But But now I understand that maybe that no, I'm sure the classes I took from marketing helped me better than the ones I for business purposes and for making money and for making a life earning that the law. So that's what I that's, and I think that this is becoming something I see on my colleagues and even myself, sometimes we get frustrated, the lawyers can get very easily frustrated because they think, look, I'm smarter than all these guys. I know more things that they do. But still, their voice counts more in the in the in the committee is still they make more money than I do now. Because for the business company, the lawyer is somebody who is just next to the accountant, know, something that we need, but he's not. He's not very important. So I'm sorry. So when they start saying that they stop inviting me into giving classes in law school, and how are you probably gonna invite me to the podcast again,

Shireen: I believe in a multidisciplinary interdisciplinary approach because society's getting too complicated to just be in your own lane, you need to understand wider perspective.

Alvaro: Exactly. So that's what I think if if you're gonna become a business lawyer, no, because IP lawyers were business lawyers. Yeah. You need to understand business. And I will also put on the IP a lot of the marketing Yeah, they they have to combine so marketers have to learn more of the legal and lawyers need To understand more of the marketing and the way companies work, and if you're able to understand to, then when you come to committee and you say something intelligent, they will value now, because you you're gonna add something to the discussion, and you're not going to stick on your on your only subject.

Shireen: Great. Well, it's been lovely interviewing you. Thank you for appearing. Before we close? What is your? How would you define what a brand is?

Alvaro's Definition of Brand

Alvaro: And that's like, the easy and complicated question, though, like, so simple that it should be complicated. The, I think, as the branded as a value store, is where you put all the efforts you do. And you put it in, in a box. It's like you're saving bucks. So everything that all the marketing, all that good product sold, a good service has to come to this place. And if you do it right, it will expand and it will bring more money. So I see it as a place where you store value. Your clients? Yeah,

Shireen: Yeah. That sounds brilliant. Okay. People will have positive associations as a result.

Alvaro: Yes, yes. He's not some, because you can also say, a via trademark is, is a procedure. I mean, he's, he's something that you have to register? No. So it sounds like boring. And the sounds like he doesn't, he's like, I just have to pay something more now.

Shireen: Whereas it actually contains that value. It's when you sell a business, essentially, you're selling the name is a big part of what you're selling.

Alvaro: Exactly. If you do it in the right way he has value. And the one of the companies I do have, I mean, one of the brands I have the one Bonilla is the one that works on trademarks, valuations and, and business strategy related to but seeing from a financial side. So, so that's that that's the thing we do, we try to see what's the value of a trademark. And sometimes it's very difficult because you cannot separate the value of the trademark from the value of the company. Yeah, because He's the same. And we try to talk to very sophisticated clients about how to create a different value from the brand different from the truth from the company. So it can became a different asset. Because some of the times you cannot sell the brand without selling the company. If you don't do it on the right way. You have to do it in a way that you can sell the company and sell the brand apart and have different values.

Shireen: Wow. So you have your fingers in many pies. Great. Well, thank you very much for coming to the podcast to have this chat. Okay,

Alvaro: Shireen, thank you. I try to see things from many perspectives. And I think the financial perspective is one of the most important and less known you have the marketing perspective. But you have also the financial if you try, and that's like the next step, we should go try to if the guy is more if the lawyer knows about the strategy for making that asset, something they can see on the accounting books, then then he will make sure they like him. Yeah.

Shireen: Good. Well, thank you very much then. 

Alvaro: Thank you Shireen, bye.