Female Leader Conversations Feature Natasha Burns Principal Lawyer Burns IP said, “Disruption is really about challenging ourselves. We are always looking for ways to do things better, so we can better help our clients.”
Natasha Burns is at the forefront of disrupting the legal industry. Natasha has over a decade of experience as a partner at a New York law firm where she managed the IP portfolios of several Fortune 500 companies. She brings this experience to Australia’s SME market in a technology-driven law firm.
A practising lawyer in Australia and the United States, Natasha expertly guides medium-sized businesses through the complex maze of intellectual property law, both in Australia and overseas.
UNITED STATES AND AUSTRALIA
How have clients benefited from your experience in both countries?
When Australian companies look to expand overseas, they often look to the U.S. market. The United States is known for being litigious and complex, so it’s important to have a trusted advisor that can guide you in protecting your IP.
My experience means that I am familiar with some of the pitfalls of entering the U.S. market and I can draw on my experience to suggest different options for making the most of what can be a great opportunity.
What are the 3 top considerations for companies?
1) Inventions can only be protected by a patent before they go to market. Once you start using your invention publicly, you lose the right to have a patent. So, keep it a secret, until you have your patent on file.
2) It is important to be the first to file your trademark or patent. Usually, the first person to file the trademark or patent will be considered the legal owner.
3) IP rights are territorial, meaning that a trademark registration in Australia only protects your trademark in Australia. If you want to protect your trademark in China or the U.S., then you will have to file applications there. There are terms like “international trademark”, but this is really just a different way you can file your trademark in individual countries. We can help you with a strategy to best protect your IP overseas.
How is Burns IP disrupting the legal industry?
We have really challenged the established law firms.
Burns IP uses technology to streamline the provision of its legal services. All our files are electronic, and this has allowed us to deliver high-end legal services at more cost-effective prices and with more certainty of outcome.
• The SME market demands quick turnaround and technology lets us be responsive to our clients’ needs.
• Our cloud-based software means that we can collaborate directly with our clients in a totally secure environment. The ability to work closely with our clients has really helped build trust and valuable relationships.
• By streamlining our workflows, we can offer all of our services at fixed-fee prices so that there is absolute transparency and certainty as to legal costs.
• Technology lets us have flexibility. We are a group of highly-skilled lawyers and scientists who work from an open-plan office in Richmond. Without the high overheads of traditional firms, we can provide top-tier legal services, but with small firm personal attention and at small firm rates.
• We have complete scalability. Technology means a small firm like ours, can handle as many IP rights as firms 10x our size.
How does digital disruption on a global stage impact IP law?
Disruptive technologies have opened up new opportunities for women in law firms.
Cloud-based technology means staff can work from home and the office seamlessly. Staff can enjoy family-friendly hours, have a high level of trust and responsibility and are encouraged to pursue interests outside of the office, including volunteer work.
This has certainly been our experience. Burns IP is 100% female-owned and overall the firm’s staff is 62.5% female. The gender diversity of Burns IP has only been possible because we have taken a disruptive approach to providing legal services.