Background Question 1:

We are currently seeing a continuously accelerating digital transformation in the IP system. Especially in dealing with the stakeholders of the IP system as well as in the relationship and communication between attorneys and clients. As well as networking and professional exchange between IP experts, for example via social networks such as LinkedIn.

IP business academy: How do you perceive these changes?

Martin Wilming: There are many aspects of “digital transformation” in the IP system. First and foremost, I do believe that some jobs (or at least certain aspects thereof) in the IP profession will become obsolete. Sooner than you might guess. Even whole firms are at risk. Just think about those firms that heavily relied on translation work upon validation of European patents back in the days. From one day to the other, the London Agreement wiped that income stream away. The rest is eaten up by automated translation nowadays. We are now in the midst of the very same for drafting work, due to AI tools that are currently not bad already, and they are getting better every day.

Bottom line: Whatever can be automated will be automated.

No one wants to become obsolete because one’s work is being automated. Thus, you need to stand out with something that cannot be automated. At least not for the time being. Which brings me to the second part of your introductory remark: Reaching out to peers (potential referrers) and potential clients has never been easier than nowadays. LinkedIn is simply great for that.

Background Question 2:

Expert marketing refers to the targeted presentation and positioning of experts and their expertise. This includes a strong personal brand presence of the expert in the online area, in particular the creation and distribution of high-quality and useful content, and targeted lead generation. This also includes online reputation management, i.e. monitoring and positively influencing your own expert brand.

How important is your expert positioning for you and your business?

If I only knew! I have no non-digital twin. I trust it is _very_ important, but I am not systematically monitoring it.

Background Question 3:

50% of all decision-makers in business today are millennials and therefore digital natives. These are people who are used to obtaining information digitally and shopping digitally. The search behavior for specialist information has changed fundamentally in recent years. 40% of the 3.5 billion searches per day on Google are shifting to social networks and so more and more content is presented there. More and more customer journeys in the legal sector are taking place completely online.

How important do you consider online marketing to be and how important is a consistent customer journey for potential clients from social media to the website to email?

I am not a digital native. This is reflected in the customer journey that I offer. To me, counseling is people’s business. (At least the kind of counseling that I am interested in.) So, my answer is two-fold: For lead generation, I trust that online marketing is very important. The barrier to reach out to you should be low. I prefer to have a virtual coffee with the interesting ones. This is time very well invested.

Background Question 4:

The search behavior for experts and the initiation of personal contacts has also changed due to social distancing during Corona pandemic and the current “new normal work“. The Google searchability of experts and their reputation is increasingly determined by their online presence. Spending on online marketing increased by 31 % last year. Designed for professional, professional relationships, LinkedIn is growing by 15% annually with over 830 million members and is by far the most important network for legal advisors and IP experts.

Do you also observe these growth rates in client requests from your Online Marketing?

I tend to say ‘Yes’, but I am not measuring it. Assuming that any inquiry from someone who is e.g. a subscriber of my Blog or is a contact on LinkedIn is due to ‘online marketing’, it’s a clear ‘Yes’.

About the interviewee:

Martin Wilming has been a partner at Hepp Wenger Ryffel since 2008. His main areas of activity are international grant procedures, opposition and appeal proceedings before the European Patent Office and the enforcement of intellectual property rights of all types. In addition, he advises and represents clients in proceedings before the Swiss Federal Patent Court, which has had jurisdiction over patent litigation cases since the beginning of 2012. In addition to patent law, he is also active in trademark law and design law. He not only has extensive experience of analyzing questions of infringement and the legal validity of intellectual property rights, but also provides clients with practicable recommendations for action from a commercial perspective. He frequently advises and represents clients in complex disputes, coordinates multinational IP litigation and drafts and negotiates technology-related agreements, in particular licensing, cooperation and technology transfer agreements. In technological terms, the main areas of his activity are chemistry, pharmaceutics, adhesives and coatings, dental technology, food technology and mechanical engineering. Martin Wilming runs a blog (www.patentlitigation.ch) which provides a running commentary on the case law of the Swiss Federal Patent Court, and has also contributed as a co-author to the Patentrechtskommentar (Patent law commentary) by Fitzner/Lutz/Bodewig. In addition, he is a lecturer on the CEIPI Basic Training Course in European patent law. Martin Wilming has a doctorate in bio-organic chemistry and has worked for Hepp Wenger Ryffel since 2002. He is a European and Swiss Patent Attorney. In addition, he has undertaken additional training in economics and has specialized further in the field of the management of IP rights (LL.M. in IP Law and Management (CEIPI)).