“Working at the IPI is rewarding, varied and centred on interdisciplinary collaboration”

Florence zu Dohna completed a six-month internship at the Swiss Federal Institute of Intellectual Property (IPI) in the Legal & International Affairs and Trade Mark & Design Divisions. She appreciated the variety of the tasks, the interdisciplinary collaboration and the positive work environment.

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Florence zu Dohna with Evelyne Keller, intern mentor at the IPI. Copyright: IPI

At the end of their internship at the IPI, legal interns give a final presentation. Florence zu Dohna chose the topic of event trade marks and their eligibility for trade mark protection. Her presentation focused on the well-known event trade marks of FIFA and UEFA.


Florence, you’ve just completed your six-month internship at the IPI and you intend to continue to work in intellectual property (IP). What do you find fascinating about it?

At university, I attended specific lectures on intellectual property law and the more I delved into this fascinating field, the more my interest in it grew. IP law plays an important role in our daily lives and will continue to do so in future too. When you work with IP, you have your finger on the pulse. It’s a very internationally-orientated field – an aspect that I particularly like. All of this makes the topic so interesting and fascinating to me.


What brought you to the IPI?

While I was at university, I worked for Red Bull. Working at sponsored sporting events made me aware of how important trade mark protection is for companies. To find out more about obtaining such protection from a legal point of view, I was very keen to gain work experience in the area of IP law. I was also looking for an interdisciplinary workplace – and that’s exactly what the IPI offers. It’s not just lawyers working here: there are specialists from a wide range of academic and professional backgrounds. It’s rewarding and expands your horizons. I also appreciate the fact that the IPI operates differently to a typical government agency due to its economic autonomy.


What will you remember fondly from the six months?

Well, firstly, the work itself. Working at the IPI is multifaceted and varied. Legal interns get the opportunity to experience a variety of areas, from the in-house copyright law services to international cooperation, including attending international negotiations at WIPO in Geneva. Moreover, you’re faced with new questions every day that you can’t always find an answer to in a textbook. Secondly, I will always remember the IPI’s appreciation for its employees. HR organises great events for the employees on a regular basis. My colleagues were always very friendly. The IPI has around 350 employees, which is a size that I’m also comfortable with.


Interns round off their time at the IPI by giving a presentation. Your topic was event trade marks, such as those used by FIFA for the World Cup. Did you find anything particularly surprising in your research?

I was surprised at how quickly the organisers of sporting events adapt their strategies based on new case law or a change in practice. They’re very flexible and creative when it comes to protecting their signs.


What’s next for you?

I’m preparing to take the bar exam in October. Then I’d like to spend some time abroad. After that, I’d like to come back to the IPI.


* The event marks on the picture:


  • Olympische Ringe (Marken Nr. 2P-406093)
  • Qatar Logo: (Marken Nr. 735759)
  • La'eeb Maskottchen: (Marken Nr. 780970)
  • Deutschland 2006: (Marken Nr. P-506201)
  • FIFA World Cup Brasil: (Marken Nr. 602746)
  • South Afrika 2010: (Marken Nr. P-547828)
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