FBCC Member Series: Marks & Clerk

This interview is part of our new FBCC Member Series, where we introduce our member companies to the network. This time we interviewed Simon Portman, the Managing Associate at our Corporate Member company Marks & Clerk.

 


How would you describe your company?

Marks & Clark is a leading firm of Patent and Trade Mark Attorneys with offices in the UK, mainland Europe, Canada, and Asia. We’re a “one stop shop” for all your intellectual property needs which means we give advice to clients on applying for patents, registered designs, and trademarks and maintaining a coordinated intellectual property strategy. We also have a legal team that gives advice on commercial contracts and includes an internationally renowned litigation practice.

Our clients range from small start-ups to universities, charities, and big multinational companies. We work in all fields including entertainment, software, electronics, and healthcare, and so forth. We have particular expertise in cutting-edge areas like 3D printing, AI, XR, and 5G.

How did Marks & Clerk get its name?

The firm was founded in the 1880’s and gets its name from the founders George Croydon Marks and Dugald Clerk. So when they started the business Queen Victoria was on the throne and Sherlock Holmes was in Baker Street! Both founders have an interesting background; Marks was a famous engineer and actually a colleague of Thomas Edison. He became a director of companies like Columbia and EMI and was also a politician who was elevated to the House of Lords as Baron Marks. Clerk invented the two-stroke gas engine and spent many years developing the technology. So as you can see, they were both very interesting and successful people.

 

What makes Marks & Clerk special?

The company has a global reach and a breadth and depth of expertise to match all its competitors so we can give clients a top tier service, wherever they are and whatever their technological and commercial requirements. If their technology spans a range of fields, we can pull a team together with all the requisite skills.

However, in my opinion, what really makes us different is the company culture. Lots of organisations have core values but they don’t always translate into action. It’s clear ours do because it is a great place to work. In fact, when I applied here, the first question I was asked was “Are you a nice person?” Luckily, I managed to fool them and they let me in!

What are your plans for the near future?

I spoke last week on licensing 5G at Birmingham Tech Week and the recording will be online soon. I will also be speaking on virtual reality meetings and collaborations at VR Days Europe in November so anyone interested in the XR sector should sign up. In general, we are pretty busy at the moment. Covid-19 has given many of our healthcare clients new challenges to meet and the lockdown has obviously been a shot in the arm for the XR sector.

How has the pandemic affected your working life?

To be honest, it hasn’t that much. We were all set up to work remotely anyway and adapted pretty quickly. I don’t waste time commuting now so probably get more done and, ironically, I am seeing people face to face more than I used to. Thanks to video conferencing, I am interacting with people visually when previously I would have just emailed or phoned them. So I don’t feel isolated. Of course, work-related traveling is currently out of the question but it will come back, and meanwhile, we have honed our viral marketing strategy.

What are your tips for others working remotely?

Maintain a structure in your working day and separate your work life from your personal life. It is also very important to avoid spending too much time staring at your screen. In the office, we used to get up and talk to people, go to the printer, out to lunch. Now, if we’re not careful, we’re stuck in the same position all day gazing into a luminous rectangle. Our bodies weren’t built for that so I would encourage people to get off the laptop and take regular walks and rest the eyes, even if for just a few minutes.

What for you are the biggest benefits of being part of the FBCC?

Membership gives us the scope to widen our network and meet people from various businesses in the United Kingdom and Finland, who we hope will turn into clients and useful contacts. Finland, and the Nordic countries in general, are highly networked, full of innovation, and a great breeding ground for start-up companies. Luckily, Brexit hasn’t deterred Nordic businesses from setting up over here, and nor should it. The regular networking events are also great fun and, with luck, we’ll soon get back to doing them face to face. Meanwhile, I’m still living off winning one of the FBCC’s recent Nordic quizzes on Zoom and consequently suffering from a very un-Scandinavian bout of smugness. Regrettably, we didn’t do so well in the last one.

Exciting news from the new FBCC Corporate Member Tuuli Bell Ltd!

In their latest Press release, FBCC Corporate Member Tuuli Bell Ltd, and Jurupa announced a collaboration to help organisations grow and mature sustainably.

“Jurupa is an innovative talent sourcing consultancy and I am delighted to announce the collaboration to our industry. The leading technology and sales teams work in a fuzzy organisational environment. Analysing an organisation’s revenue streams requires input from across the organisation, from HR, recruitment and sales to professional services. Our partnership with Jurupa brings those closer together.”

 –Dr Tuuli Bell, Founder and Management Consultant

To read the full press release and more about the collaboration, click here.

Halfway greetings from FBCC autumn 2020 trainees Ella & Alina

 

As the autumn goes further, the air starts to get crispy, and the last leaves are falling from the trees it is time to face the halfway mark of our internship here at the chamber. Even though this year has been very exceptional, and we have had to adjust to the new ways of working, we both are very grateful for the experience and the growth attained as young professionals.

We started our internship in early August at the office, from where we have since moved to work from home. We are thankful for having been able to meet so many of our wonderful members and partners via online meetings. We have also learned how to create visual materials for the chamber’s social media platforms and newsletter, as well as being part of the process of creating and delivering a webinar and planning events.

For Ella, one of the biggest benefits of this internship has been the growth of her own international network through webinars and online meetings. She has found it very interesting to learn how companies are navigating through the pandemic. Additionally, she finds learning how to work using a variety of online platforms, from social media to bookkeeping, very beneficial for her future career. Ella is looking forward to developing her digital marketing skills even more during the next few months.

Alina has been very thankful to e-meet so many of the FBCC members from a variety of industries. She has learned a lot more about the differences between the Finnish and UK market. Alina values the experience she has gained with different social media platforms, and in fact, she has taken a project of writing a more thorough social media marketing strategy for FBCC. Additionally, she has learned to use different tools, such as InDesign and QuickBooks, and cannot wait to use the skills gained in her future career.

We are both happy to have a few more months left here at the chamber, and we are excited to see what the rest of the year has to offer for us. Hopefully, we will be able to meet even more of our members and partners in the upcoming (online) events, such as the Nordic Chambers’ Business Forum!

Finnish-British Chamber of Commerce

The FBCC is an independent, non-profit organisation, recognized throughout the Finnish, British and international business communities. The Chamber offers four different membership categories: Patron, Corporate, Professional and Young Professional.