Meet Magnus Hallin, AWA’s CEO and Dotkeeper’s chairman of the board
We grabbed a quick chat with AWA’s CEO Magnus Hallin, who is also Dotkeeper’s chairman of the board. Besides his love for the sea, Magnus told us about the important IP developments at his company, why he enjoys his work with AWA so much, and, of course, the good things about working with Dotkeeper!
Tell us a little about yourself!
I live beside the sea, outside Gothenburg with my wife and one of our children – we have another one who has already moved out. Gothenburg is the place where I’ve lived for the largest part of my life although when I was at high school I lived with my family in Singapore. Lund and Brussels were also home to me during my law studies.
I have always travelled a lot, both privately and through work, and because I often work two days a week in AWA’s head office in Malmö, I have an overnight apartment there, for the sake of simplicity. AWA was actually formed in Malmö, once upon a time (1894).
As a native of Gothenburg, I obviously love to be beside the sea. Aside from work, I like to spend my time in the water, as well as travelling, exercising, cooking and meeting friends.
How did you end up in the IP field? What is it that interests you so much?
After my law studies I worked in court and in a solicitors’ office for a while. There was nowhere near the same interest in IP 20 years ago as there is today. I felt, though, that in an increasingly competitive environment IP should be of greater importance, so when I saw an advert for a trainee programme at AWA I looked into it.
The interesting thing about IP is that it’s about the future, about growth and development, and also that you get to meet so many exciting, skillful and committed people in the industry. The IP field develops and changes constantly.
Today you are CEO of AWA Group. What is the best thing about your job?
The culture at AWA – so many talented co-workers in the company with great commitment. From the very beginning I’ve always felt a special feeling here. As I mentioned before, we work with the future. We have fantastic companies as customers, that work with the things that will truly solve many of the world’s problems. That we can be there with them and contribute our commitment and our knowledge is incredibly stimulating.
Tell us a little about AWA. How do you describe yourself as a company?
We are a knowledge company in the IP field. A medium-sized company with about 300 employees but within IP we are big – the biggest in Europe. We have our base in Scandinavia but also have workplaces in China, with offices in Hong Kong and Beijing. We work globally with customers and partners throughout the world to help them be better prepared for the future.
Used properly, IP is a fantastic competitive tool and it’s essential for most large companies – especially since most value now lies in non-physical or intellectual assets. With IP one can increase sales, profit and a company’s worth but it can also minimise risk and costs. Today IP should be a part of any company’s business intelligence.
Since the summer of 2018 Dotkeeper has been a part of AWA. What synergies are there between Dotkeeper and AWA, would you say?
Trademarks and domain names are closely linked, and they will become even more so because of the continued growth of e-business and digitalization. It isn’t possible today to build brands without a company-wide strategy for trademarks and domains. A deep knowledge around law, digital technology and practical management are necessary. Through our merger and joint efforts, we can offer these to our customers in a combined and unique way.
That is the most important synergy. Outside of that there are synergies around the growth of our digital platforms, fostering of new customers, marketing, common functions and premises.
What is it that you value in Dotkeeper?
Their incredible drive, commitment and focus on customers that adds up to the keyword: “passion”. This is present in very high levels at AWA too, but Dotkeeper also brings a start-up culture to AWA that we want to encourage. And it’s well known that decent, fun people with strong ethics are easy to work with. Together we make each other even better.
What is it, in your opinion, that separates Dotkeeper from other domain and digital IP actors in the field?
Dotkeeper has a strategic approach and a business model that supports this strategic approach. I have seen other domain companies that are too focused on volume and automation instead of providing genuine advice, so they don’t put a structure in place to actually advise customer properly. Dotkeeper makes sure that they work closely with their customers and advise and support customers throughout all parts of the process in a transparent way. They are very proactive.
When Dotkeeper became a part of AWA, you also became chairman of the board at Dotkeeper. How do you approach that role?
It’s a privilege to have this responsibility and to be able to work with the owners of Dotkeeper. It is of course a role with certain formal responsibilities and so on, but I see it more as a co-operative forum where together we can strategies and try to develop Dotkeeper as well as possible. To date we’ve have only had a couple of meetings so the board is under construction.
Do you have a favourite top-level domain (eg. .com, .se, .shop, .sport, .cn etc)?
Despite the great number of new TLDs , my favourite is probably still .com. When we recently changed our name from Awapatent to AWA, a crucial consideration before the change was that we could get hold of awa.com. It is a positive development that there are new TLDs for specialisations. I like, for example, .expert – that’s one we have used ourselves, by having domaintrademark.expert as the URL for one of our new websites.
If you can look forward a little, how do you see the developments in IP over the next ten years?
IP will continue to grow in significance, and it will change from being something people regard as a way to protect their assets to something that will enable collaborations and other ways of increasing revenue. Work on IP infringements will shift further towards the digital sphere, as e-commerce continues to increase. International IP systems will be more coordinated, and the focus will shift further towards Asia.