BCF Also Speaks RussianSeptember 9th, 2015
Our firm at the service of foreign businesses.
Two years ago, Ilya Kalnish got a call from a headhunter inviting him to join the BCF team. The position in question involved working with the Russian giant Yandex, which runs the most popular search engine in Russia. Far ahead of Google on its home turf, the corporation was looking to expand internationally.
“It was an opportunity I couldn’t refuse. BCF was not only looking for an intellectual property specialist; they were also looking for someone who is proficient in Russian,” Ilya explains. The patent and trade-mark agent has since become a firm partner.
In addition to having acquired solid experience drafting and following up on international patent applications, Ilya spent the first 17 years of his life in Russia and Bulgaria before heading off to England to pursue his education.
“Our team’s language skills keep us a step ahead of other law firms,” he says. “Because we speak to inventors in their mother tongue, it’s a lot easier for us to identify the technical details which might otherwise tend to get lost in translation.”
Lawyer Yury Smagorinsky also believes that proficiency in Russian is what makes it possible for the firm to work with big companies such as Yandex. He underscores that most of the documents he receives from clients are written in Russian Cyrillic.
“Our team has a unique mix of experience, qualifications, and language skills,” he says. Very few law firms are in a position to offer the services we offer, which enable Russian companies to break into new markets.”
Yury lived in Saint Petersburg before moving to Montreal at the age of seven. After finishing his studies in 2009, he set off for New York, where he cut his teeth at an international law firm for two years. He worked on a number of Canadian and American intellectual property litigation cases before joining BCF earlier this year.
Conversely, Sergey Gerasin spent most of his professional life in his native Russia, where he worked for a number of commercial and non-profit organizations. Most notably, he has worked in corporate and real estate law and has been involved in public-private partnership matters.
“Beyond my mastery of the Russian language, BCF now benefits from my years of experience working as a lawyer in Russia, not to mention all the contacts I made there,” he says.
In 2011, he enrolled in Université de Montréal’s Law program to prepare himself for practising in Quebec. He joined BCF’s intellectual property team two years later.
“This world is completely new to me and I’m aware that my linguistic background gives me a major edge,” says Sergey, a lawyer and patent agent trainee on the team.
His knowledge of Russian also gives him an opportunity to participate in networking events with Russian and Canadian companies, starting with the Canada Eurasia Russia Business Association (CERBA). The group, which has a branch in Montreal, often organizes seminars to help people discover new business opportunities in the Eurasian market.
“It’s important to remember that more than 200 million people speak Russian and that they don’t all live in Russia; the language is also spoken in Ukraine, Kazakhstan and many other countries in Eastern Europe and Central Asia,” Sergey insists. “Mastering Russian opens up a large market where business can be developed.”