Meet the Member: Yoana Strateva, Intellectual Property & Competition Law Attorney

Member news | July 12, 2021

Yoana is a Bulgarian Intellectual Property & Competition Law Attorney, with a law degree from France and UK.

She has experience working in an international environment and advising multinational clients on various matters, including trademark and copyright issues, contract law across industries, and antitrust cases.

Yoana speaks four languages. She has an innate talent to communicate efficiently and build long-lasting meaningful relationships, thus fostering and facilitating strong teamwork and collaboration.

Yoana has a special interest in fashion law and is open to new opportunities in the fashion and luxury industry.

Keep reading to learn from Yoana's expertise and career in Intellectual Property & Competition...

FACC: What defines success in the role of an Intellectual Property & Competition law attorney?

I believe that an attorney’s success, in general, is not that different between the various fields of law, and what defines that success lays entirely in the client’s satisfaction, by taking care of the client and getting any risks under control, which would not be possible without earning the client’s trust first. Every attorney must be knowledgeable, but also be able to be relied on and trusted. This is the foundation of the profession in my opinion.

When it comes to Intellectual Property (IP) law, again, the role of the attorney is not different from the above-mentioned. To be successful in representing a client in IP matters it is always crucial to understand the business and be aware of the client’s vision of it – short term and long term. Generally speaking, IP law protects creativity and a good IP attorney would find ways - through the different types of IP rights - to encourage and protect that valuable asset in the interest of the client. 

FACC: How do you manage the workload with engaging a client and earning their trust?

To illustrate an example, even after I’ve moved to the US I have one loyal client who I still work with on an ad-hoc basis. On one hand, I believe that this relationship is successful because both sides have nurtured it from the start. We found common language, because we are both from Bulgaria, but also because we live abroad and this helped tremendously with our interaction. The international experience we share makes us more open-minded, flexible, and better prepared to deal with uncertainty.

On the other hand, not every client is like that, and finding the common language is the most challenging part of the job - the human element. I think that soft skills are as important as legal skills, and are regularly overlooked in many professions, especially the ones that take many years of schooling. I found that developing my soft skills through client interaction has been invaluable. Looking back I realize that they have to be actively developed alongside my legal skills, especially when it comes to leadership skills.

At the end of the day, your client trusts you, the individual, and then the company. It is important to remember that we, attorneys, work with people first, and interpreting the law comes after.

FACC: Where do you see opportunity areas for the profession to help you grow more?

I am passionate about creativity and expression, particularly fashion. Intellectual property law has given me the opportunity to support creativity by offering legal advice and solutions to different authors and musicians. The luxury and fashion industry is especially fascinating to me, but what I found particularly interesting in the first place was, for example, the contrast between the legal protection offered to fashion in Europe and in the US. On one hand, it requires such high level of excellence in all of its aspects - the design of the collection, the presentation both on the runway and in retail, the high attention to every detail, etc., and on the other, there are many challenges in the industry, such as, apart from the strictly legal ones that I already mentioned, the environmental impact and sustainability. I would like to use my skills and be part of the excellence, but also contribute to finding solutions, and I certainly see my future career growth in that industry.

FACC: Why did you join the FACC-NY network?

My dream field has always been fashion law, but the Bulgarian market is quite small and there was no real fashion law need. When I moved to the US to start my family with my husband, I stumbled, yet again on the New York Fashion Law Institute’s Bootcamp, which seemed out of reach when I lived in Europe for numerous reasons. This time, due to the remote nature of the world at the time I could attend remotely, and I jumped at the opportunity immediately. From there I kept expanding my professional network with a particular focus on the fashion industry.

My biggest challenge was to convey the value of my foreign experience. After numerous informational and informal interviews with my newly developed professional contacts I was convinced that my experience is very unique, and even though it would be challenging, I have to focus on applying it fully and keep searching for the perfect fit. This led me to join FACC-NY where I can meet brilliant people who share my connection with France and get the opportunity to contribute to the Franco-American community here in the US.

On a personal note, I miss the European lifestyle, and having a professional network with many European members will help me feel closer to home and hopefully create some lifelong personal relationships as well.

"As an IP attorney, who is passionate about fashion and luxury, I decided to dive deep into the world of LVMH in order to better understand the industry, see how the LVMH Group tackles the main challenges of that industry today and get the chance to envision the next chapter of my career.

Attending the program “Inside LVMH” was an extremely insightful and inspirational experience where I had the opportunity to look “behind the scenes”, listen to the teams’ testimonials and get closer to their expertise. By completing the program I have deepened my knowledge of the luxury industry from the point of view of a legal practitioner, and also understood the true meaning of excellence.”