After preparing for civil service exams to become a judge, María Ángeles Moreno embarked on a career as a lawyer specialising in industrial property. In 1991 she joined Herrero & Asociados after working for Spain’s leading industrial property agent at the time. Ms Herrero runs the Department of Trademarks abroad, being in charge of the processing, management, surveillance and enforcement of trademarks worldwide, including EU trademarks and the special services provided to Latin America.
As experts on the matter, what role does the Herrero & Asociados brand play and how is it protected in your corporate strategy?
The brand has strategic value for Herrero & Asociados as it does for any other company that wants to stand out in the market. In our sector, the brand is of crucial importance; not only do we need to have a healthy portfolio of brands that enables us to provide our services with real peace of mind, but we also need to create a trademark every day through our good practices in those EU and Latin American jurisdictions where we have a presence, and also wherever our clients are located.
With regard to your presence in Latin America, what is your competitive advantage over other international firms?
Our competitive advantage lies in our profound knowledge of industrial and intellectual property all over Latin America, this being a product of the experience gleaned from more than 30 years providing specialist services to our clients.
This experience and knowledge of the needs of our clients and of many other companies led us to establish a presence in some of the countries in this region, starting with Mexico, then Brazil, and now Argentina.
Our offices in Latin America are not a carbon copy of the structure of our head office, as is the case with other firms. Our central office offers our clients centralised services that are complemented with a local touch from our offices and associates. We do not have fixed structures, but adapt to the specific needs of our clients in each of the countries as well as to local laws and practices.
We listen to our national and international clients; we understand their needs and endeavour to cover these and to even anticipate them. This is why our offices are a perfect reflection of the demand emanating from their requirements.
What are the main selection criteria for deciding what new markets to enter?
The search, penetration and consolidation of new markets has always been one of the biggest challenges facing Spanish companies in the global arena. International expansion at Herrero & Asociados was not only a challenge, but also a necessity if we were to respond to our clients’ needs.
At Herrero & Asociados we decided, nearly 10 years ago now, that we wanted to lead the way in industrial and intellectual property matters in Spanish and Portuguese-speaking markets and it is for this reason that we embarked on our expansion with an office in Portugal, later spreading from Spain and Portugal to Mexico and Brazil, countries where our clients required special attention.
Today we cannot be more convinced that our decision was the right one. In Mexico we have carved out a position for ourselves among the top ten submitters of patents and we have won the trust of huge international and even local clients that have seen Herrero & Asociados as a firm that responds to their needs, with the characteristics of a local firm but with the benefits to be derived from our international vocation.
If we add to this the fact that our offices, and not just the one in Mexico, provide a benchmark for local Trademarks and Patents offices, and our firm is recommended in major international legal directories, we cannot fail to be really satisfied with the decision to internationalise our company.
What are your biggest markets at the moment, and which are your future markets?
For us, Latin America is a market that is one of a kind. Maybe this has been one of the keys to our success and it is for this reason that our expansion is still focused on this huge market.
Looking at macroeconomic data, Mexico and Brazil are still our top priority, and Argentina is our new target. With the opening of this new office, we are also catering to the demands of our foreign clients who have been asking us to open this office for some time now.
For us, Latin America is a short and medium-term business objective in which we feel completely integrated and very comfortable – it was not in vain that we started to work on this area from the moment we founded our company.
What promotional strategy is the brand pursuing in international markets?
Our promotional strategy is very simple: we seek out the best professionals in each of the areas in which our clients demand our services so that we can give them attention of the utmost quality with an awareness of the economic situation worldwide. We have created the structures required to be in a position to provide this service at extremely competitive costs.
What are the main challenges facing Herrero & Asociados at present?
- The main challenges we are currently facing at Herrero & Asociados are clear: to continue innovating, creating new services for our clients and to fully protect intellectual and industrial property rights on a global scale.
- To understand and adapt to new business models, getting involved in the affairs of our clients, remaining proactive and providing a personalised service to all clients.
- To remain an international firm with just one business objective: to provide specialised legal advice at national and international level, with maximum quality, professionalism and exclusive dedication.