At Pod Legal, we pride ourselves on our friendly, upfront and transparent service. We deliver fixed-fee services from passionate law professionals, helping you do better business online. Today, we thought we’d take you behind the scenes and get to know our Solicitor Director Jamie White with a Q&A. From veganism and animal welfare charities to representing Australia in tennis, there’s a lot more to Jamie than meets the eye.
What’s something most people don’t know about you?
I am a passionate vegan, animal lover and advocate for those without a voice, whether animal or human.
What’s something that really matters to you?
With my amazing wife (Karan, who is Pod Legal’s Business Director), I co-founded Animal Patrons Australia, which is an organisation that enables the rescue and rehabilitation of animals affected by disaster. I continue to serve as an Animal Patrons Australia Board member.
What are some common misconceptions about IP law?
The main one is that registering a business, company or domain name means that you own the brand name. This is not true. Only a registered trade mark provides legal ownership rights. Another misconception is that paying a contractor to create an original work (for example, a logo, website copy, etc.) means that you own copyright in the contractor’s work. Again, not true – ownership of copyright must be assigned (transferred) in writing. Payment does not mean that a transfer has taken place.
What does a day in the life of an IP lawyer look like?
Although each day can present unique circumstances and challenges, I work to a structure. In the mornings, I assess priorities for the day, review pending matters, hold client phone meetings and provide support, respond to new enquiries and brief our team of lawyers, as well as admin and marketing assistants. Then, I allocate the afternoons to deep thinking. This allows me to focus on writing advice, drafting agreements and class specifications for trade mark applications and working on intellectual property dispute matters.Of course, flexibility is crucial, as some matters need urgent attention.
What do you love most about Australia?
The fact that we have the oldest living cultural history in the world, dating back some 65,000 years. We still have a way to go in recognising the past contributions of indigenous Australians and treating them as equals.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
I love collecting and playing vinyl records, as well as spending time with family. I also like to participate in charitable activities, whether it is in connection with Animal Patrons Australia, helping those currently experiencing homelessness or supporting other activities.
Can you share a personal and professional highlight and lowlight?
Personal highlight: I represented Australia at the 2010 World Over 35s Tennis Championships, held in Mexico. While I was in Mexico, I also climbed the Pyramid of the Sun, which is believed to have been constructed in about 200AD. I’ve always been fascinated by pyramids, so this was definitely special.
In late 2017, serious illness resulted in five surgeries and a very close brush with death. I had an extended period of time away from work, which caused me to reflect more deeply on my health, priorities, the impact of family and home life. It was a very challenging and confronting time in my life.
Professional highlight: Owning and operating a successful and award-winning law firm and providing fixed fee pricing, long before it became fashionable.
When I came to realise that the legal profession has a number of outdated practices that don’t necessarily favour the client’s best interests. As a profession, we have a long way to go.
Early in my legal career, was the catalyst to form a client-centric legal firm, offering fixed-fee billing access, to free legal resources and access to legal expertise, without the fear of being charged in six-minute increments.
What made you become a lawyer?
I was wanting a career that would challenge me, both personally and professionally.
What’s your favourite part about serving clients in the business space?
Helping them to understand and navigate the laws that apply to their businesses and, therefore, better manage legal risk and increase the potential for business success.
Have you got a major triumph moment where you helped a client with a big problem and got them through the other side?
In 2012, we had a client who instructed us to apply to register the NUCKIN FUTS, as a trade mark, for packaged peanuts. As anticipated, the Trade Marks Office rejected registration of the trade mark, on the basis that the trade mark contained scandalous matter (it was a spoonerism for F****N NUTS). I then successfully argued that use of the F-word was no longer offensive, in Australia. The Trade Marks Office accepted our arguments and overturned its original decision. The decision was covered by media in a dozen or so countries, I appeared on various television programs (Today Tonight, 9 News, 7 Sunrise, etc.) and the trade mark proceeded to registration.
… on that note, if you need legal support for your business, from online terms and conditions and privacy policies to trade marking expletives or anything else, get in touch with Jamie White here.