“It just made sense for us and the business to have a UK presence. It is such a vibrant economy here in the UK, but also outside of geographical expansion, the way the group can operate in terms of our investment into tech and client-orientated solutions, it’s such a refreshing take on how we deliver IP services.”
We are now in July and it’s been an amazing couple of months for Kane and Azhar, but we managed to grab them for a quick chat to hear how everything has been going. Listen to the full podcast here:
Interviewer: Hello everybody, my name is Kerry and I’m BRANDIT’s Marketing Manager, and welcome back to our podcast. So today we have two of our newest recruits, Kane Ridley and Azhar Sadique, who joined us back in April this year when they headed up BRANDIT’s and Port Group’s expansion across the channel to open up our first UK-based office. Let’s just say, it’s been a busy couple of weeks for Azhar and Kane as they kicked off activities in London, and we wanted to catch up with them both to hear how everything has been going. Azhar and Kane, thank you for joining us today.
Kane: Thank you, Kerry
Azhar: Thanks, Kerry
Interviewer: Welcome! So before we start talking about the office, I wanted to take a step back and ask you both how you got into the world of IP? Kane, shall we start with you?
Kane: Yeah, definitely. For me, I was lucky to fall into the world of IP at a very early point in my career. But once I was in, I was absolutely hooked on the idea that I could you know contribute towards protecting and enhancing a brand’s growth. For me it’s also great to bring your passions outside of work into the workplace. That is something very possible when you consider the full scale of brand protection that we offer transcends into individual industries.
Interviewer: And Azhar, what about you?
Azhar: Well, I never thought I would end up doing law. I was always on the course to join the army but did some work experience at a Formula 1 company just before I had made a decision on what I wanted to do, and from that, I realised that I loved the world of IP and everything that it covered. From designs to new wings, to marketing material, new races, and everything in between. On top of that, we’ve always had family businesses growing up, from car washes to travel agents, to even selling rocking horses; so, I’ve always been fascinated with how to start something up from scratch and then sell it. So when I saw how deep IP can go, from start ups to major brands in the world, I was sort of hooked by that, and to combine businesses and brands, I thought IP was the perfect fit. I actually just picked law out of the local newspaper of available courses, but as it turns out, the world of IP has offered the perfect canvas to explore all of these interests. And now we’re moving into tech advancements in the industry, another background interest of mine, I’ve been quite lucky that they’ve all come together, and now we’ve opened BRANDIT in London, it’s just been amazing for us to find out that all of those things work together.
Interviewer: I bet! That’s very interesting. So then, you opened the BRANDIT office in London in April, how’s the first months been? What have you been doing? What’s the main focus kind of been for you? Azhar, shall we start with you?
Azhar: Yeah, absolutely. So, the main focus is, has been how we can do things differently. So, we have a chance to start something up from scratch, we’ve almost got a bit of a blank canvas. And, Kane and I have been thinking really hard on what we actually want an office to look like, not now, but in two to three years’ time. So, we’re already thinking quite futuristically about how we should do things. Obviously, with any start up, there’s been a lot of admin, but that’s also been probably the most enjoyable point. Going through it together as well, there’s been two of us, we can go through decisions, bounce ideas off each other, and I think it’s been a really good month of growth for us personally, to identify how we want to be as business owners. So, for me, I know there’s a lot of other stuff involved, sort of bringing clients onboard and the other set up points, but the biggest thing for me is just how much we’ve learnt in a month from starting a business, which in our industry, you’d think we have a good handle on a lot of the time. But when actually feels like your own, from bank accounts to postal addresses, it really is a different level. So, for me, I think it is the focus on starting something from scratch and really thinking about how we can do it differently.
Kane: Yeah, I have to agree you know with what Azhar said there, it’s been such an amazing experience this first month. I mean we’ve also had the opportunity to meet lots of our new colleagues from across the groups 18 offices, which has just been fantastic, and we are really looking forward to meeting as many people as we can over the next few months. Anyway, we can’t really forget as well, we also had INTA in the first month in Singapore, and that was again, you know, fantastic for us to connect with new and old friends and elaborate on the group’s offering, which is really special, and the feedback that we received from INTA has just been really good, and for us, it’s really cemented in our mind that actually, taking the risk to start something new, has been totally worth it.
Interviewer: That’s really good to hear! And, you kind of touched on it a little bit there, but what were the main reasons for you, and obviously BRANDIT and Ports Group, to expand into this region? Kane, do you want to continue there?
Kane: Yeah, when you look at the scope of ambition and potential that BRANDIT and Ports Group aim to deliver, it really made the decision for us to open the London office an easy one. If you look at the combined offices, you know, we have offices in Sweden, Switzerland, Italy, Norway, Turkey, Denmark, Malta, The Netherlands, Metaverse, I’m running out of breath with the number of offices we currently have. It just made sense for us and the business to have a UK presence. It is such a vibrant economy here in the UK, but also outside of geographical expansion, the way the group can operate in terms of our investment into tech and client-orientated solutions, it’s such a refreshing take on how we deliver IP services. It really aims to put the client in the driving seat with a one-stop shop of IP solutions. To me, that was a real unique opportunity to be a part of a really exciting time for BRANDIT and Ports Group.
Interviewer: And Azhar, do you have anything to add on that one?
Azhar: Yeah, I think Kane said it perfectly there with what London has to offer. London is really a unique place, and it is a thriving IP hub at the moment. It is a global hub of innovation and business and actually, last week, I saw an article was posted to say that London has just taken over from San Francisco as the new tech hub of the world! Which for us is amazing, which means we definitely needed an office here. You know, it has a rich eco system of start ups and established businesses alike, which for us, in the world of IP, covers all the bases we need. So it’s a perfect place to bring our unique perspective and our client-centric focus, and our approach to IP management to that IP hub. And actually, we think it can bring a lot of value to all of these businesses because we protect IP from the bottom up and we thrive in this digital age. Another point that I’d like to mention is that it is full of amazing people that we want to actually work with. So, they’re all highly skilled and a lot have been involved in developments in the industry, and for us, that was an added advantage and bonus really. So it’s a thriving hub for IP, but it’s also a thriving hub for potential new colleagues and partners we can look to have join us soon.
Interviewer: Yeah, that is so true. You touched on it briefly there when you were talking about INTA, but what kind of reactions have you received since announcing this move? Kane, do you want to continue there?
Kane: Yeah, the reaction has been overwhelming! And we’re really thankful for all of the messages we have received through email, LinkedIn in particular has been amazing for us the last month or so. I think fundamentally, the IP community is a close-knit group of talented professionals and we’re really lucky to have made the connections that we can call friends. IT’s been really humbling the influx of well wishes we’ve had.
Azhar: Yeah, to put it quite simply, the response has been overwhelmingly positive. Clients and contacts, old and new, appreciate that we are doing something completely different. And right now, we seem to be a bit of a crossroads where, not just us, but everyone is screaming out for change themselves. So, I think for us to provide that, that’s the reaction that’s going along side it. You know, we’ve got a really innovative approach to IP now and our dedication to understanding and meeting specific needs of clients and contacts all over the world, has really, really come across.
Interviewer: That’s great, Azhar. You mentioned London there, we’ve all seen some of the amazing pictures you guys have posted on social media of the backdrop of the London office, how is the London office coming along?
Azhar: Well, the new office is shaping up nicely. We probably have THE best view in London, and that’s no exaggeration. With it being number 1 Tower Bridge as well, it really puts us on the map. It’s a great area and I think we’ve created a space that encourages collaboration, creativity and innovation, all the key tendencies that Kane and I have been talking about in how we envisaged our office environment. And really, your office is a reflection of yourselves, I think. So I think what we wanted to do was to create something that has this pioneering spirit of BRANDIT. We’ve had quite a few visitors through the door, including a few puppies from the office next door, but it makes it quite interesting, modern, and I actually can’t wait to get in there every day, so it’s really great!
Kane: Yeah, I mean for me, it is right in the heart of the city and really has some unrivalled views of some of London’s most iconic sights. Modern office space and we’re really looking forward to being able to grow the team and share that space with them. The next biggest office decision, and this is a serious one, is which fridge we’re going to install to make sure we have plenty of cold refreshments to enjoy the summer on our balcony, which overlooks the river.
Interviewer: That sounds amazing and I’m looking forward to visiting the office there. So, Kane, in your opinion, why would UK-based companies want to use our services? What is it that we can offer that’s different from what’s already out there?
Kane: Yep, it’s a good question and it’s one we love to answer. You know, I think BRANDIT and Ports Group are uniquely placed to become key players in a way in which we evolve the IP landscape and the offerings we can provide. Technology will have a massive impact on the IP infrastructure and deliverables over the next 5 to 10 years, and I believe the group has already made massive leaps in developing internal solutions that answer the pressing needs of today, but also forecast the potential issues, looking into the future. This tech is under pinned by a talented workforce that can deliver a full solution of brand protection, from domain names, trademark prosecution, and then going into online brand protection, it is a unique offering that allows a brand to fully utilise its potential by having quick access to big data, in a clean and transparent online system. These capabilities combine to form a solution that isn’t available in a traditional IP set-up.
Interviewer: And Azhar? Anything to add on that one?
Azhar: Yeah, it can’t be said enough, but for me, it’s all about the people. BRANDIT and Ports Group bring a fresh, tech-driven approach to the often-traditional field of IP. But it’s people who interact on a different level understanding and empathy. I think each person is absolutely client focused with such knowledge of the industry that the decisions that are offered to clients, are those that they would make themselves if they were within a client’s business. We offer such bespoke solutions tailored to client’s specific needs, as opposed to a one-size fits all service, that we can be really adaptive and really flexible, which means we have a deep understanding of our clients’ rapidly evolving needs. So especially in a market like the UK, where IP opportunities are thriving, but they are also really quite different. And I think it’s this ability for us to give creative solutions, that won’t only meet the UK market, but the global market as well. I’m also just going to mention something I referred to earlier where I think we are at a crossroads, where traditional law in the UK has become too expensive to really help brands. It’s actually becomes a barrier and what we’re finding, especially after INTA, is that the number one reason businesses are struggling to grow is due to budgeting issues, often heightened by those legal budgets themselves. So, as such, we’re looking to help ease that so brands can do more to thrive, as brands, with their own businesses in mind, not worrying too much about legal spend. Having an agile system that creates any fit for a client will really put us at the forefront of this profession.
Interviewer: That’s a really important point you make there, Azhar, in the current economic climate. I’m sure it’s super interesting for the listeners. So, moving on to the next question – what have you learnt, what are the key takeaways in the last couple of months in opening up the office. Kane, do you want to take that one?
Kane: Yeah, opening up an office involves so much more than solely focussing on the job. It can be exhilarating, and sometimes it can be a little bit scary. But that sense of entrepreneurism, building something of your own is a massive motivator. Sometimes the days can be long, there can be a lot of trouble, but you know in your mind, there is an end goal, and you have your own ambition that really helps you to fuel the fire. But I suppose for me, the key takeaway is ultimately to have fun! Enjoy the ride. You know it is a really special for us and I’m sure we’ll look back in later years and view this as a pivotal moment in our working lives.
Interviewer: Yeah, I can imagine that. And Azhar, same for you, or?
Azhar: Yeah, I think the biggest takeaway for me is that this has absolutely been the right decision. And not just for myself and Kane, in terms of where we are in our careers, but actually where the industry is. So I think, over the last month, it has reinforced our belief that the future of IP lies in innovation and customisation. I have also realised that traditional models no longer suffice in this rapidly evolving digital landscape, but we’ve realised over a month that we can actually go much further than we thought. We’ve also learnt a lot about the careers of people and we’ve been contacted by a lot of people who actually want to join that are currently in more traditional firms and practices. And they’ve realised that they’re creativity extends the boundaries of their four walls, it actually extends their profession. So, we also want to harness that. So a key takeaway for me is how can we actually use this as a platform, not just for ourselves, but for a lot of other people in the industry.
Interviewer: So, I guess leading on from that is what can we expect from the UK office in the coming months? You kind of touched on it there, Azhar, do you want to continue on that thread?
Azhar: Yeah, thanks Kerry. We’ve got lots of launches planned! That’s what we have upcoming. And we’re really just getting started in what we can do, so expect to see BRANDIT and Ports Group leading the charge in innovative IP solutions. We plan on expanding our local team, introducing new services tailored to the London market and building long-term partnerships with all our clients. More importantly, and I think Kane mentioned this and it’s exactly right, we plan to have lots of fun while we do it. So, there will be of course, plenty of opportunities to meet with us and the team in and around London, and we’ll have lots of exciting events. So make sure you watch this space to find out what we’ve got planned!
Interviewer: I definitely will. And Kane, anything from your side on that point?
Kane: Yeah, I mean there’s not much more to add there, I think Az has covered that really well. We’re excited about the plans we’ve got. We’re going to be active across social media. For me specifically, I’m really looking forward to building out our team, bringing in talented individuals who share our vision of how we provide brand tech solutions. We’ve got a lot of trips and events planned for the next few months, so we’re going to make sure we have every opportunity to be out and about to meet people and let everybody know what we have planned and what we’re going to be up to for the next six to twelve months.
Interviewer: Well, that sounds really exciting for you guys. So to end with, we’ll continue with the fun theme that you mentioned Kane and Azhar, and end with a fun or unknown fact about the UK or yourself. Kane, do you want to kick us off with that one?
Kane: Yes, I can definitely give a good fact about the UK office. So there is an exclusive pub called The Keys in the Tower of London, and we can see the sign from our office. However, to be invited is very rare. So, it’s only open to the resident Beefeaters of the Tower, and it’s been serving them for around about 150 years. So there are certain exceptions that allow members of the public to sample some of the craft beer that they serve, so since we found this out, it has become kind of a mini project of ours to befriend a Beefeater to get access to the secret pub!
Interviewer: Do you have to dress up as a Beefeater as well?
Kane: No, but if we could, we definitely would!
Interviewer: You’ll have to share the pictures if you do make it. And Azhar, what about you?
Azhar: Yeah, a fact about myself, with festival season just being around the corner, another fun fact is that I used to work at Glastonbury and all the UK festivals every year running the tents, including a 200 strong karaoke tent one year, which was a bit of an experience! But my favourite memory, I was once placed behind the pyramid stage and managed to meet everyone performing that year! And the highlight was being given a broken record, when they used live decks back then, from Fat Boy Slim, and I’ve still got it in my house. I think it might have to become a feature of our office.
Interviewer: That sounds brilliant! Well, it certainly sounds like you’ve had a super productive, if somewhat hectic, start to our UK business and I’m sure it is a sign of more amazing things to come.
If any of our listeners have any questions about our UK services or how we can help you in this region, please do not hesitate to speak to Azhar and Kane directly or contact the main office on the usual number and email address.
So on that note, it just leaves me to say thank you very much Kane and Azhar for joining us today.
Azhar: Thanks Kerry, it’s been a pleasure!
Kane: Thank you.
Interviewer: Thanks and thank you to everyone at home.
After my days backpacking and hiking around Australia and New Zealand, I get great satisfaction from travelling and experiencing different cultures. Outside of travel and adventure, I’m also a keen gamer, and when not online, I like to keep up with the industry by reading the latest gaming news. I love how my passion for the gaming world combines with my profession in protecting IP. Hobbies aside, my main love is spending time with my family, who ensure I’m always kept busy.
With over 20 years within the IP industry, I have spent a large part of my career managing global IP portfolios. Passionate about improving our client’s journey through smart brand-tech solutions, I have extensive experience in the strategic delivery of IP management and technology solutions alongside the running of IP functions such as paralegals, formalities, renewals and support teams.
Kane speaks: English
As an avid sportsperson, I am a firm believer in collaboration and teamwork. I value my partnerships with teammates and live by the famous Michael Jordan quote “Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence win championships.” When not playing sports, I love spending time with my family and sailing, having recently completed my boat captain license.
I have been working in the IP industry for over 14 years and am a passionate and experienced IP expert. With my commitment to revolutionising the IP industry, I’m focused on championing innovation and empowering our clients with bespoke solutions that perfectly suit their individual needs.
As a thought leader and speaker, I have sat as an expert on service provider Advisory Boards, designed and delivered CITMA Paralegal and EUIPO EUTMD courses and have Chaired several INTA Committees, including my current role leading the INTA TMA Committee.
Azhar speaks: English
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