ELSA Baltic Exchange took place from February 20th to February 21th in Finland and Sweden. Before applying I had mixed feelings about it. First, none of my friends could tell me how exactly it was going to be happening, they were just comforting me with “It’s ELSA, it’s gonna be great!.” Second, none of my close Finnish friends were going and I was feeling a bit lost in advance…you know this feeling when you are going to a party for some reason but you don’t know anyone there – these were my feelings. However, on the bright side, the exchange was about intellectual property law (my one love) and I could not resist. In addition, I felt like I needed a change at the end of the February when the weather is not really switching to the spring and exams are all over your schedule. So the trip looked like a good way to take a break and allow yourself to escape for a while.

As the time before the exchange was coming, I realized that one of my friends was going to participate as well and I felt relieved. After spending 2 hours trying to get to the harbor with our heavy bags and with nice dresses (because we had a dress code), I had a feeling this trip would be most certainly something to remember.

We arrived to Stockholm in the dark gloomy morning. It had been raining and for many people who saw Stockholm for the first time everything appeared to be grey. I hope they could come once again to see how this beautiful city looks like in the sun. We had a lovely socialization with the Finnish team the night before and all my worries about interactions with people I saw the first time in my life had been unnecessary: everyone was really nice and excited about the trip and for some it was not the first time on board. It was also interesting to talk about ELSA in general and all of the events that will be thrown in the nearest future. If you read this, ELSA Turku, we really need a study trip to Joensuu!

The first place we visited in Stockholm was Mannheimer Swartling Advokatbyrå AB – the biggest law firm in Sweden. We had a short presentation and case study with Emma Kadri and it was followed by lunch. Other associates joined us there to tell about their experience in the firm and how they got their jobs (the top question from the participants).

After that we had a short walk to the Swedish Patent and Registration office and it was something I personally looked forward a lot. Main reason for that is because studying intellectual property as my major, the general information is not that new after all the courses we had in UTU. To be honest, patenting was my least favourite thing to learn, I found it quite boring and even case law on patents is mostly straightforward. You file application, wait for the decision and then renew your patent if needed: what could possibly go wrong? I’m exaggerating of course but you get the point: it’s not too fun at all.  So I was expecting to hear how it is working from the perspective of the Patent Office, what are they doing when they receive the application? It became obvious that the presenters not only knew what they were talking about (10+ years of experience) but also they were absolutely passionate about their job. They had no troubles discussing any IP matters. It was a pleasure to hear how they were a part of creating patent office as it is now and how they express themselves fondly of their work. Swedish Patent and Registration office is not concentrating on only the patents but also they give consultations on the other matters, like copyright. Apart from it, they have a project that helps to establish intellectual property rights protection in the developing countries and they are holding several lectures within this project and travel to those countries to check on their progress.

After as it seems like a great educational day we headed to the ship and had some nice ELSA spirit games and socialization time. I can’t write much about the entertainment part but let me just tell you – it’s something and you have to try it. My friends were honest being not able to describe it. Imagine the nicest ELSA party but on the boat 🙂

In Helsinki we got introduced to two law firms. In Borenius Antti Husa told about the company in general and Jemina Bonsdorff about the intellectual property practices in particular. She presented very interesting topic about copyright and licensing of video materials and most importantly explained how is it working in practice. What are they looking for? How the legal analysis is happening step-by-step? This are some of the questions that were answered.

Our last point was Dittmar & Indrenius office. Ricardo Gomes and Wilma Yläjärvi-Tuominen made a small presentation about the activity of the company and gave us some case materials. Each group had its own case and we had to advise the client from the legal perspectives. As in real life, it was nicely screwed up by the client and it took some time to think how to solve it.

I actually wasn’t supposed to write this much but how else can I tell you that it’s really worth going and that it was interesting and well balanced? I didn’t feel tired of the parties (if you don’t know what I’m talking about never mind) and education part did not exhaust me either, quite opposite, I was leaving with a feeling that i have absolutely successfully spent my time in a company of great people all interested in the same thing.

Text: Ganna Burynska