2023 has kicked off with a bang! Our Innovation Powerhouse has been busier than ever working with cases and clients that (dare we say without sounding cliché?) inspire us every single day. Let’s take a look at what we have been up to and what we believe makes us the go-to partner for demanding clients working with innovations.
When it comes to compiling a team for our clients, we know that one size does not fit all. Each client, each case, each opposing party, and all the business needs involved require a different set of skills. As a result, each client case deserves a tailormade team of our legal professionals. And what a team we have to offer! From junior lawyer to practice head, our Innovation Powerhouse is a group of top-notch professionals ready to dive into each case and work seamlessly together to give our clients the benefit of our unique skills and expertise. IP, tech, life sciences, data protection, regulation, and more – we have it all covered.
However, this does not mean merely focusing on individual areas of expertise, but instead, we also provide a broader legal perspective and have the ability to understand the bigger picture of a client’s business context. For that very reason, we consider it vital that our professionals are generalists able to assist in more than just a narrow focus area. We, of course, recognize that everyone has their own special strengths, but we also consider it essential that every single one of us is able to provide not only legal advice, but holistic solutions to our clients’ multifaceted business needs. Our “back to the roots” approach, as we call it, recognizes that for centuries lawyers have been generalists ready to tackle any issues their clients might face. Fast-forward to 2023, we continue to keep that legacy in mind when growing the next generation of broad skilled and business-minded legal professionals.
Finally, starting the year off, we got to welcome Iiris Kivikari, our Head of IP, back to our starting line-up after a year of maternity leave. Now that we have all our Innovation Powerhouse Team Heads back in the game, we sat them down and asked them to share their predictions of the big trends and must-wins of 2023. This is what they said.
Iiris: It is incredible what a change just one year can make! We have been talking with clients about the importance of data assets and getting their asset strategies in shape for years, but now it seems like the world has finally awaken to the topic as well. Just look at everything the EU has coming our way: the Data Act, the Artificial Intelligence Act, the Digital Governance Act, the Digital Services Act, the Digital Markets Act… All these pieces of legislation that are aiming to promote structured innovation and data sharing – but which also raise concerns with some stakeholders. Data, intellectual property and other intangible assets are really taking the world by storm. The message is clear: data is an asset – or can be if you take good enough care of it. But companies really have to ramp up their asset strategies in order to stay competitive. That’s my pick for a “must-win of 2023”: reinvent your asset strategies.
Juli: I see the same thing happening in life science, especially with companies working in personalized medicine. For them, the emergence of new legislation can be overwhelming, and over-regulation could stifle growth. Our hope is that legislators will be able to strike a balance between progress and safety – dare we even hope for some type of adaptive legislative solutions that could maintain flexibility and fair competition? While we wait for legislators to come to a conclusion, keeping your eye on projects like the European Health Data Space is essential, especially given all the unresolved issues on data protection, trade secrets and IPRs. But you should not just sit and wait for legislation to come your way. Instead, we highly encourage all companies to engage with policymakers in order to find solutions that promote innovation while ensuring patient safety. So, I think the must-win of 2023 is: promoting innovation and growth while balancing safety and progress in a fast-paced regulatory landscape.
Jukka: But unfortunately it is not all just innovation and new business opportunities. In particular, what we are seeing in the field of data protection is a growing number of disputes and administrational processes. As the stakes get higher, the disputes seem to be getting bigger. During the past 12 months, we have represented our clients in the European Court of Justice, the Finnish Data Protection Ombudsman’s investigations, administrational court procedures, company-to-company disputes, settlement negotiations… pretty much everywhere possible. So, if I had to pick a “trend of 2023” it would be: bigger and more data (protection) disputes.
Anna: When it comes to digital technology, we see the phenomenon of cloudification: There is, hardly, any corner of life that will not soon be connected to the internet of things (IoT). Last year, we discussed on a weekly basis, especially with our industrial clients, such topics as the impact of the upcoming Data Act on device makers’ industrial data (soon to be disclosed for free), how to simultaneously protect trade secrets and pragmatically adapt relevant technology agreements as well as the technologies themselves from the architectural point of view in the IoT context to comply with the upcoming regulation – and the business impact on (monetization of) current data insight services now provided subject to fees. In addition, we see the trend of (nearly) all legacy on-premise IT systems being replaced with cloud based solutions, as we take part in related projects. And of course, we continue to advise our clients in IT and IP intensive technology innovation disputes. However, D&I’s technology practice is technology-neutral. This means that our work is definitely not restricted to IT, but covers anything from bits, code, data and hardware to material science, biotechnology, renewable resources, energy and beyond. We serve our clients in all strategic economic sectors in contentious and non-contentious contexts, wherever demanding technology and IP/IT expertise on complex contracting and negotiations are needed. So, my trend pick for 2023 is IoT and tech-neutrality.
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