Who? Shireen Smith, intellectual property and internet information technology solicitor at her own London firm Azrights.
Why is she in the news? Successfully appealed to the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) on behalf of clients seeking to register their ‘Golden Balls’ brand as a European Community Trade Mark (ECTM).
Inez and Gus Bodur had been selling T-shirts under the Golden Balls brand for almost 10 years when one of Europe’s largest media companies, Intra Presse, began legal action against them.
Intra Presse opposed the granting of an ECTM to the Bodurs’ brand, arguing that ‘Golden Balls’, when translated into French, comes very close to its own brand, Ballon D’Or – or ‘golden ball’.
After a six-year legal fight costing more than £100,000, Smith was able to appeal the Bodurs’ case to the CJEU and finally gain for them the right to register Golden Balls as an ECTM.
Thoughts on the case: ‘This case raised issues that I feel strongly about. It surely stretches the boundaries of intellectual property law to accept that a translated name would break a trademark.
‘It is already hard enough to think of a name for a new product. If the Bodurs had lost their case, how many languages would lawyers have to investigate to find out whether a client’s chosen brand could be translated to seem similar to an existing brand?’
Route to the case: Referred by Jeremy Philips, author of the IPKat blog.
Why become a lawyer? ‘To see justice done.’
Career high: ‘The launch of my book Legally Branded at the British Library in September 2012. It became an Amazon bestseller.’
Career low: ‘Trying to take time out from running my practice to write the book. My editor would sometimes make me rewrite an entire chapter.’