Fianka is a Trade Mark Manager in our Jakarta office. She has extensive experience advising clients on all aspects of IP protection and enforcement, but is now focusing particularly on the development and management of trade mark portfolios.
Fianka knew, even before she graduated from Law School, that she wanted a career in the field of Intellectual Property. She was attracted to it initially because of her interest in the arts – music, literature and painting: she was fascinated to see how the legal system interacted with these fields. So, while still a student, full of enthusiasm, she decided to apply for a job at Rouse. She was young and nervous and the interview didn’t go well. She didn’t get the job and, as a result, temporarily abandoned the idea of a career in IP. Then, when she graduated, she accepted a position in the mergers and acquisitions department of the Jakarta office of a leading multinational commercial law firm. There she was working on large-scale transactions and soon feeling like a very small cog in a very large wheel. Not surprisingly, her thoughts began to turn once again to IP and before long she moved to a local IP firm, where she spent the next five years working happily on all aspects of IP.
Her experience working at the international firm was certainly not all negative though because there she met her future husband, Michael, a mergers and acquisitions lawyer who was actually enjoying what he was doing, They were married in 2021 and living not far from Rouse’s office. One evening as they were driving home from work, Fianka jokingly said that if she worked at Rouse, she would be able to skateboard to work. Then, two weeks later, a friend who worked at Rouse said there was an opening there. She applied – and this time the interview obviously went much better. Second time lucky - she was accepted! At the time it seemed that fate had intervened.
Fianka comes from a professional family and has lived in Jakarta all her life. Her father is a lawyer, her mother a marketing executive, and her sister, who studied architecture, now has her own accessories’ brand. Fianka’s mother, in particular, wanted to make sure that her daughters were well educated and as close to bi-lingual Indonesian/English as possible. So Fianka started learning English when she was three or four years old - and she has fulfilled her mother’s ambition. Her English is truly excellent. Given her background, it was certainly no surprise that she decided to study Law, although it hadn’t been her first choice. Initially she had thought of studying psychology, but her mother dissuaded her from that so she turned to Law. She has no regrets – and, in fact, her interest in psychology, and in people and their stories generally, is certainly not wasted in her trade mark practice.
Her interest in the arts, and particularly her love of reading, is not wasted either. In 2021, the Vice-Chair of the Law Society of Singapore’s Advocacy Committee gave an interesting address on why lawyers should read novels. He referred to the obvious benefits of developing linguistic and story telling skills, but focused particularly on the fact that reading novels gives the reader an insight into all sorts of different characters – so it helps a lawyer understand clients, opponents, witnesses and, indeed, judges. These days Fianka does not have so much time to read, but she still reads novels whenever she can. Among those she has enjoyed recently are Haruki Murakami’s Norwegian Wood and Sally Rooney’s Beautiful World Where Are You, but perhaps her favourite book recently has been Joan Didion’s The Year of Magical Thinking, not a novel, but a mixture of memoir and investigative journalism describing the year following the sudden death of Didion’s husband.
Work isn’t the only reason that Fianka doesn’t have a lot of time for reading these days. Not only have she and her husband Michael recently bought a house which is taking up quite a bit of their time, they have also acquired a dog, Bo. He is a large dog, a Japanese Akita, and each evening and at weekends, they take him for walks. Between that and spending time with both their families, and indulging Michael’s passion for cooking, there is not time for much else.
For now, they are very happy where they are, with no immediate plan to move, but some time in the future they would both like to go to graduate school in another country - although choosing the country might prove difficult. Fianka would love to go to the University of Glasgow, partly because it has a good IP department, partly because she likes the idea of being in a 400 year old college, and partly because Scotland is green, rainy and cold. Michael, on the other hand, likes the idea of being somewhere sunny and at the moment is thinking more of somewhere like LA. In the meantime, now that Covid is no longer an issue, they hope to do some more travelling. Fianka loves travelling and before Covid had visited various countries including Turkey, Vietnam, Japan and Dubai. Now visiting other European countries is a priority – particularly Italy for its food and England for its history and culture.
Working in the field of trade marks suits Fianka perfectly –it is more personal than working as part of a team on large scale commercial transactions, and more immediate; she has a close relationship with her clients; and she needs to be able to understand both them and their products. It was definitely ‘second time lucky’ for her when she was offered a position at Rouse after her second interview – and it was ‘second time lucky’ for Rouse when she accepted.