Mossack Fonseca, Division Interview of Raquel Araúz, Esq. – IP Division
On October 20, 2015, Raquel Araúz, Esq., the head of Mossack Fonseca’s (MF) Intellectual Property Division, gave a highly informative interview to representatives of the MF Marketing Division.
Raquel, we would like our readers to get to know you; please tell us about yourself and your career prior to working at MF
My pleasure, I’m 38 years old, and for the past 10 years I have been working here at MF. I started out as a legal assistant for Attorney Sara Montenegro. I then began developing the Intellectual Property (IP) Division with the guidance of Attorney Joanna Soto. I have been the director of the IP division since its inception four years ago.
Prior to joining MF, I spent several years working as an IP executive assistant, specializing in managing and protecting trademark portfolios.
Please tell us about your legal and continuing education
I attended the Latina University (Universidad Latina) in Panama where I studied law and political science. I have been a member of the International Trademark Association and the Inter-American Association of Intellectual Property for the past six years. The International Trademark Association is a congress that brings together around 10,000 IP agents and lawyers. A group of our lawyers, along with the IP Division have been working really hard with these two associations.
Last year, for the first time, we attended the International Anti-counterfeiting Coalition meeting―they are an organization focused solely on combating product counterfeiting and piracy. We also regularly attend local seminars and congresses to continually update our knowledge base.
In May of this year, my colleague Attorney Li An Chong and I were invited by the Panamanian consulate in Venice to talk about our complete range of legal services, as well as IP matters. We discussed the benefits of trademark registration with the Venice Chamber of Commerce and the Verona Chamber of Commerce. In addition, Attorney Amauri Batista is a member of the International Offices Committee and the International Trademark Association.
Please tell us more about your team here at MF
I am fortunate to have a talented and highly committed team. I have an extremely able attorney, Jorge Gutierrez, who recently earned his master’s degree in litigation procedure. I also have a business administrator, Milena Pinilla, who is my IP analyst, and Eric Carvajal who is my legal assistant―he is in charge of monitoring our litigation process before the court. The team works directly with and is supported by a truly outstanding group of lawyers in our Legal and Trust Services Department.
What are the benefits of going to MF instead of another provider?
First and foremost, our dedication to quality service: MF is the only ISO 9001 certified law firm in Panama. We have over 500 staff members across every continent, and more than 35 years of experience. Our clients can register and protect their trademarks, patents, and copyrights not only in Panama, but in any country in the world, through our allied offices. We offer the highest commitment and most competitive costs and to our clients.
How would you define intellectual property?
It is the development of ideas, the creation of the mind, our inventions, dreams, art, and designs that should be protected―to make them unique. It is important to protect the rights over those designs, products or services―for many reasons―to avoid third parties taking advantage of your work. That’s the way I see it, I see it in a very passionate way. Keep in mind that intellectual property goes beyond simple trademark registration―it is everything that comes after that, and we work hard to ensure that no one else can take advantage of our client’s dream.
Please give us some specific examples of what constitutes intellectual property
Sure, we have been protecting trademark registration for all kinds of products and services―everything from cosmetics, fashion, sports, medical and pharmaceutical goods, education, entertainment, financial services, management, and many others.
Right now we are working with software developers. In fact, recently we have been working on protecting software developed by the Microsoft Corporation. We protect Giorgio Armani which is one of our strongest trademarks. We also provide trademark protection for Terpel, a company with over 2,000 gas stations in Central and South America.