In a previous Q&A in 2021, we asked Ana-Maria Baciu (AMB) about how she entered the IP profession, her working principles, and her advice to women interested in joining the profession. This Q&A focuses on running her firm and recent client matters.
When did you set up your firm?
AMB: On Universal Children's Day, in 2019. It was a nice coincidence, and it was right after my birthday. Now I have two birthdays in a row to celebrate: my birthday, followed by my birthday as a managing partner.
Why did you decide to start your own firm?
AMB: My previous role was no longer enough for me. I needed things to be done my way, together with people who have the same references in terms of business principles and personal values. I made the decision together with my friends and colleagues, Cosmina Maria Simion and Andreea Bende, both of whom are currently my business partners. It remains my best professional decision to this day.
What challenges did you face when setting up the firm?
AMB: I don’t really remember any. It was less about the challenges and more about the excitement of the new beginning.
What was the easiest part of setting up and running your own firm?
AMB: The fact that we did what we were already very good at and that we were doing it together with people we liked.
What advice would you give anyone thinking about setting up and running their own firm?
AMB: Be brave and know your strengths. And even more so, your weaknesses. And be patient—with your colleagues, with your clients, but most importantly, with yourself.
How do you ensure your firm delivers high-quality services to clients?
AMB: We do our best to treat each client's project as the most important project ever. Because most of the time, in that particular context and at that specific time, they are.
How would you describe the culture of your firm?
AMB: Our mission, as a firm, is to provide the best combination of legal advice, business savvy, and humanity, and in achieving this, we strive to live by our values: authenticity, integrality, respect, partnership, and fairness.
If you have corporate social responsibility initiatives in your firm, please briefly tell us about one or two of them, why you have them, and the impact or achievement(s).
As a principle, we try to live and act responsibly every day. With a sense of our role in society, we support projects that are meaningful to us. A recent example is supporting the efforts of specialised NGOs related to the reforestation in various parts of Romania, with the first step being to offer saplings as gifts to our team members for their work anniversaries.
What do you enjoy most about running your own firm?
AMB: My professional life, as a managing partner included, is most valuable because of the people I get to interact with every day.
Could you briefly share two interesting client matters you handled within the past 18 months?
AMB: We are currently involved in a difficult but extremely rewarding dispute in relation to the trade mark of one of the oldest football teams in Romania. From trade marks to management issues, there is a lot we need to sort out. The project is in rather early stages, but once finalised, it will definitely be one to remember.
Another mention goes to our assistance to a major oil and gas trading company based in Romania, the largest independent Romanian fuel distribution company and one of the top 5 players in the Romanian downstream market, in setting up a full commercial relationship with its IT systems provider. Through this commercial relationship, our client aims to implement the new fuel sites and head office automation process, which will have a major impact on the functioning and operation of the company.
Did you find any part of the work you have just described uniquely challenging? If so, what were the challenges, and how did you overcome them?
AMB: Regarding the trade mark of one of the oldest soccer teams in Romania, most challenging was the fact that all angles of the relationship between the parties—the supporters’ club, on the one hand, holding the rights over the trademark, and the management of the team, on the other hand—needed to be considered from the very beginning. We had to build our entire strategy even before the first cease-and-desist letter was sent out. So far, it has proven to be flawless.
Have you noticed interesting trends in the IP market in your jurisdiction and/or region?
AMB: The more diverse the new technology evolves, the more challenging its protection becomes. This is the future, and it’s our job to make it secure.
What are the key challenges and opportunities in the next decade for firms in your jurisdiction and/or region?
AMB: The NFT, crypto, blockchain, artificial intelligence—neither existed or were taken seriously 10 years ago, and now we cannot see the world move forward without them. It’s up to all of us to learn to use them to our benefit. It’s going to be a very interesting decade.
As the firm’s leader, what is your top priority for next year?
AMB: Our priority has always been, and continues to be, the team. Once your team is optimally functioning and content, all your projects will be successful.
Ana-Maria Baciu is a regulatory and intellectual property lawyer who has been assisting clients in various industries for more than 20 years. She deals with contentious and non-contentious IP work. Baciu is also qualified as a European trade mark & design attorney. She became the managing partner of Simion & Baciu on June 1 2019. Learn more here.
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