Welcome to Ignition Law’s ‘Igniting The Spark‘ series where we spend five minutes with inspiring entrepreneurs, talking about the key moments that defined their careers.
This month we caught up with Iain Russell, Founder of Russell IP. Iain is a patent attorney and an inventor who founded Russell IP after having been a Partner at an international IP law firm. Russell IP provides high-quality, cost-effective patent attorney services for patent-savvy businesses and specialises in high tech (especially telecoms) and music technology patent work.
The moment that ignited the spark in me to start a business was…
I’d known for some time that I wanted to have my own business, but I enjoyed my previous job and starting a new business myself felt like a big risk and, to be honest, quite daunting. One morning, though, I woke up and thought “today’s the day something needs to start happening” and the rest’s history! I didn’t have a business plan or financial forecasts, hadn’t really thought about a USP or where work would come from, but just felt confident that things would work out one way or another. This is pretty unusual for me as I normally plan things very carefully and am not particularly impulsive!
The toughest challenge I’ve faced is (and how I overcame it)…
Russell IP got approval to start providing regulated IP services in late January 2020, which was only a short time before, as we all know, everything changed with the pandemic. I place a huge importance on getting to know people I work with. Not being able to meet up with existing and prospective clients, catch-up with professional contacts, attend networking events and the like has probably been the biggest challenge for me personally. I’ve started using LinkedIn a lot more and have made some fantastic new contacts through it. Increased use of videoconferencing services has also helped a lot.
The biggest success has been…
Exceeding my workload forecast for the first business year within the first five months of being in business. I’ve been very fortunate that previous and new clients have entrusted Russell IP with their patent work, even though Russell IP’s a relatively newcomer in the patent world.
I’m very good at..…
I guess I should say ‘patents’ first! I’m constantly coming up with new ideas, whether for new products, services, business opportunities etc. I’m also quite organised, which helps a lot when trying to juggle client work, admin, business development, free time etc.
The type of person I look to recruit is…
Trustworthy, hard-working, enthusiastic, and someone I feel I’d enjoy working with.
The part of my day I most look forward to is…
Interactions with IP offices, especially telephone interviews with IP office examiners. Some treat interactions with IP offices as almost adversarial, whereas I personally see them as an opportunity for diplomacy, collaboration and negotiation. I’ve found this mindset very effective in achieving great results before IP offices for clients and for my own inventions.
If I could give fellow entrepreneurs one piece of advice it would be…
From a professional perspective, if you’ve come up with something valuable that others might want to use (whether an idea, brand name, design etc.), think about whether it’s worth protecting it. That’s not to say you have to protect everything you come up with, but I suggest at least considering it!
From a personal perspective, I’d say don’t be too daunted by ‘failure’ or the prospect of it. Not everything will go according to plan, but I personally think it’s usually better to have tried something and it hasn’t worked out than not to have tried it at all, as long as you learn something from the experience and understand the risks you’d be taking doing it.
Outside of work I can be found…
Rocking out at a gig – watching or performing!
My philosophy on life is…
Enjoy what you’re doing as much as you can. If you’re not enjoying what you’re doing, something needs to change.
How did you work with Ignition Law on this? What support did we provide you with? Julia was able to prepare one ‘base’ set of policies, which could be adjusted for several different websites I run without much additional work. This helped enormously with the cost-benefit judgement. Julia was also great at wording the policy documents so that they didn’t use too much legalese, while still seemingly being very comprehensive.
What did you enjoy most about working with the team at Ignition? Ignition Law understand their clients’ needs and really tailor their advice and work products based on those needs.