Azrights – Our Story

Azrights was founded by Shireen Smith in 2005.

Immediately before founding Azrights, Shireen combined working part time as a lawyer at a large international law firm with raising her two daughters. In those days law firms had rigid requirements, so that her employer’s lack of flexibility was in part the catalyst to her setting up her own law firm.

For someone with little background in private practice (her previous experience was at Coopers Lybrands, and Reuters, the news agency), founding a law firm was daunting. She had previously dismissed the idea. Then one day her entire world changed when her father suddenly died. He had been fit and apparently healthy so his unexpected passing had a profound impact on Shireen’s world view. As he had often advised her to set up her own law firm his words resonated with her now that he was gone. The idea took hold and Azrights was born.

Early days

Like with any business, one of the first questions to be decided was what name to call it.

The name ‘Azrights’ was eventually settled upon as it was distinctive enough to be registered as a trademark, and yet short, snappy, memorable and pronounceable (it is pronounced like you would say the words ‘As rights’).

The choice of name was inspired by the idea of an A to Z of rights, which actually reflects Azrights focus on being comprehensive, and covering the full range of IP issues when helping clients.

One of the mistakes Shireen had noticed people making was the tendency to focus on one type of IP right. For example, sometimes people become so keen to get a patent for an invention that they put their entire budget and resources into patenting, even to the extent of neglecting other legal issues which sometimes may have a much more dramatic impact on their plans than a patent.

Digital IP focus

Given Shireen’s background as an in house lawyer at Reuters working with software developers, and salesmen of trading room systems it was inevitable that Azrights would also focus on IT and commercial issues.

The firm’s ability to offer technical IT savvy expertise was bolstered when shortly after setting up her law firm, her husband Paul’s new business moved into the office next door to Azrights. With his 30 years background working in IT (latterly as a consultant on financial systems projects) for the likes of Merrill Lynch, Schroders, and Robert Fleming Paul proved to be an invaluable resource for Azrights.

With the benefit of the practical understanding of websites and more which Paul provided, Azrights gradually became a digital IP law firm. Unlike traditional Trade Mark and Patent Attorney firms it is also able to offer depth of expertise in IT, copyright and internet law.

Mission and Values

In 2009 Shireen approached the British Library’s Business and IP Centre (BIPC) to offer workshops for start ups aiming to set up an online brand and business.  Paul accompanied Shireen on those 3 hour workshops, providing the technical input when attendees had IT and web development queries.

In those days SEO, social media, websites and similar subjects were not on offer at the BIPC. A few years of delivering these quarterly workshops gave Shireen clarity about both the business and legal aspects of online business.

Learning to convey complex ideas in plain English in order to teach the subject was very much in line with the ideal at Azrights of communicating the law in plain English so clients are able to better understand their needs, and access the help they need.

Digital IP – that is the practical aspects of websites, software, branding, domain names, copyright, social media, online marketing are the focus at Azrights, and much of the workshop content culminated in her book, Legally Branded, which was published in 2012.

Consequently, Azrights tends to attract staff with formal or informal backgrounds in computer science, as these lawyers tend to be passionate about working in our area of specialism – IP with a strong digital bias.

The mission of Azrights is to help businesses to succeed by creating valuable IP which is protectable globally. As such the firm’s ideal clients are those that want to take a holistic view of their IP issues, given that IP rights operate in conjunction with one another as a whole.

IP is at the heart of licensing and franchising, and Azrights is developing partnerships to also help its clients with IP commercialisation.

Steve Jobs said each of us has the power to change the world in some way, and one way Azrights wants to do so is to alert business to the importance of early attention to the full range of IP and IT issues. This is how companies can access the know-how and expertise they need to turn their ideas into valuable intellectual property assets.

Azrights is transforming its client’s prospects by offering them the necessary knowledge and insights to reach for success with the help of comprehensive IP services. It does this by ensuring clients stay one step ahead, and can commercialise their assets while also bullet proofing their business.

Give us a call on 0207700 1414 or submit an enquiry if you would like IP/IT help in your business.