PETOŠEVIĆ PEOPLE: Q&A with Maya Smirnova

Senior Paralegal Maya Smirnova has been part of our Ukraine team for over 11 years. She handles trademark prosecution in Ukraine and other countries of the Russian-speaking region. We asked Maya about her work, her pastimes, her favorite food, and much more.

  1. How did you start your career in IP?

    My mom used to work for one of the first IP firms in Ukraine, established after the breakup of the former USSR in the early 1990s. Almost every night she used to tell me bedtime stories about her adventures in the IP field. Later, when she started working at the Ukrainian Intellectual Property Office, she would show me Official Gazettes with registered trademarks — we would go through all the images together. I found it really interesting and realized that this might be something that I wanted to do in the future.

  2. What is the most challenging aspect of your work?

    Communicating with the Ukrainian IPO, because sometimes it can be challenging to reach an understanding with the examiners.

  3. What do you most enjoy doing at work?

    I enjoy being helpful to people. I also enjoy working with trademark office actions related to lists of goods and services.

  4. What would you be working in, if you weren’t working in IP?

    Probably at an animal shelter.

  5. What was the first job you’ve ever had?

    When I was seven or eight years old, my dad used to bring home small pieces of equipment and devices used for acupuncture, as part of his side job. We had to check every piece for defects. I used to help him and earned my first paycheck which I spent on a toy-dog that was walking, sitting, and barking.

  6. What is your favorite thing to do when you are not working?

    Taking care of our office cats and my own cat, travelling, and spending time with friends.

  7. What book did you read last?

    “Not Without my Daughter”, a biographical book by Betty Mahmoody about the escape of Betty and her daughter from Betty’s abusive husband in Iran. Now I’m reading “Scammers in the Art World” by Risto Rumpunen and Jyrki Seppälä.

  8. What is your favorite song/music at the moment?

    Lenny Kravitz is my favorite singer of all time.

  9. What is your favorite dish of all time?

    Definitely something made out of dough! It can be pasta, pizza, pies (especially savory ones), or just bread.

  10. If you could meet anyone in the world, from the past or present, who would it be and why?

    I’ve never met my maternal grandfather, so I would be very glad to meet him. My mom told me that he was a very funny man.

  11. What was your favorite subject in school and why?

    Mathematics. I love working with numbers.

  12. What did you want to be when growing up?

    I wanted to be a teacher and a veterinarian, but then I realized that I don’t have enough patience for children and that I would be afraid of performing surgery on animals.

  13. Tell us three things most people don’t know about you.

    I go to hip-hop dance classes, I collect figurines of women, and I cannot ride a bicycle to save my life!

  14. If you could learn to do anything, what would it be?

    Teleportation! I have dreamt about this ever since I got rejected for an EU tourist visa many years ago.

  15. What is your biggest frustration about the world around you?

    Ill-mannered people.

  16. What is the most important thing you have learned in the last five years?

    If it is impossible to change things, stop trying and try to find peace with them.

  17. What do you wish you could have told yourself at age 13?

    Learn English and French!

  18. What cities/countries have you lived in?

    I have only lived in Kyiv, Ukraine.

  19. If you could live in another country of the 30+ countries where PETOŠEVIĆ operates, which would you pick and why?

    I would pick Budapest, Hungary. The city is great and it’s not so far from Ukraine. Also, I liked the PETOŠEVIĆ office premises when I was there.

  20. If someone came to your city for 24 hours, where would you take them?

    I would take them on a boat trip on the Dnieper river, so that they can enjoy the city from the water and watch the sunset. After that, we would visit my favorite restaurants and bars, because this is a good way to experience a new culture and become acquainted with local people.

Read more PETOŠEVIĆ People interviews.