Our History

Our history goes back almost a hundred years. Closeness to people and versatile know-how are part of our values.


Share capital and walnut furniture

The patent agency was founded in 1928 under the name Borenius & Co. From the very beginning, the company had, at its core, IP expertise and a global outlook. The founder of the firm, Robert Borenius, studied engineering in Bingen, Germany, and at the request of his German business acquaintances he established a patent agency in Finland.

The articles of incorporation were signed by the Borenius family and family friends. The papers show the firm’s assets as 35,000 Finnish marks in share capital and some items of walnut furniture. The firm’s assets were listed down to the last curtain and piece of carpet.

Robert Borenius embodied the spirit of Boco IP: innovative and highly productive, with the desire to drive development forward. He was a founding member of the Association of Finnish Patent Attorneys, founded in the same year as Boco IP, and also one of the founders of the Finnish National Broadcasting Company, Yle.


Pea soup and punch for the patent attorneys

For the first couple of decades, Boco’s business activities were small in scale, consisting mainly of translating foreign customers’ patent applications into Finnish. The patent agency did not take on any Finnish customers. Finland had already established the Patent and Registration Office and enacted patent legislation, but the general significance of the field in Finland was not great.

The patent agency was run from a home office, and the monthly meetings of the Association of Finnish Patent Attorneys were held on Thursdays. After the meeting, Mrs. Märta Borenius served pea soup and punch. A people-oriented approach and diverse in-house expertise are, to this day, still part of the Boco’s values.


German remains the language of technology

Germany continued to be one of the leading countries in technology and engineering science, and the patent agency had many German customers. After the Second World War, all of the more than 300 “Volkseigener Betrieb”, i.e. the East German state-owned companies, became customers.

The agency business activities gradually expanded, from translating patent applications into Finnish to the handling of annuities, consultation on patent law and responding to official actions issued by the Finnish Patent and Registration Office. Language skills and technical translations were, and still are, of great significance in the patent field.


The Hjelt family joins the business

In 1966, Robert Borenius passed away and his son, Sture Borenius, asked Ingmar Hjelt – known in the patent field as a translator with a diversity of expertise – to become the new figurehead of the firm. Hjelt worked primarily for the Helsinki Telephone Association, but stopped by in the evenings to handle the patent agency’s technical matters. For about ten years, the patent agency was run through the efforts of Hjelt and two clerks.

In the early 1970s, Pia Hjelt, a Diploma Engineer (M.Sc) and Ingmar Hjelt’s daughter-in-law, worked as a researcher for the Finnish Patent and Registration Office and also did translation work for Boco. In 1977, she came to work in the patent agency to help out her father-in-law, whose health had begun to weaken. At the end of the decade, Sture Borenius decided to sell the patent agency, and in 1980, Pia Hjelt became the new owner of the business. Ownership of the firm by its experts and an entrepreneurial spirit lead Boco forward.

1980s and 1990s

Active marketing brings new customers

The patent agency’s business model gradually modernized. The first computer arrived in the office in 1981, and in the following years, copy machines finally replaced the use of carbon paper.

Pia Hjelt’s husband, Silvio Hjelt, joined the agency in the early 1980s and, through his business contacts, brought in many new customers. In addition to work from foreign customers, the agency took on its first Finnish customers and its activities expanded into drafting Finnish patent applications. Listening to the needs of the customer and a service-oriented attitude are still important today. Boco still retains these customer relationships that began in the 1980s.

Patent legislation became internationalized, and Finnish patent legislation was modified according to the European model. Pia Hjelt worked closely with the legislative development in numerous ministerial task forces. Boco representatives were also actively involved through other professional organizations and gave lectures at numerous events. In cooperation with legal firms, patent litigations were handled successfully while the firm’s influence grew.

In the 1990s, Boco representatives began to regularly attend international conventions in the field, leading to many significant new contacts and customer relationships. Active participation in the activities of international organizations also continued in the decades that followed. As the new millennium began, the patent agency recruited many new patent and trademark attorneys.


Expansion and depth to services

The beginning of the 2000s was a period of fast growth and development. In 2005, the firm’s ownership by its experts took on a new form when the attorneys become shareholders in the family-owned firm. The following year, the President of the Republic of Finland granted Pia Hjelt the rare honorary title of Patent Counselor. In 2007, Karri Leskinen became the new managing director, and Hjelt became the chair of the board.

In 2008, Boco acquired the business of Iprbox Ltd. The acquisition expanded the number of services and the depth of Boco’s expertise. In the wider world, intellectual property rights began to be seen as a key part of companies business strategy: they support value, protect the brand and drive competition.

In addition to Finnish and international patent and trademark work, Boco began to offer consultation, training and defence of IP in court.


The firm’s reputation grows

In the 2010s, Boco’s reputation and recognition continue to grow. A culture of trust and mutual respect proved fruitful and the agency receives recognition for the dedication of its professionals and its excellent work environment. Boco was Finland’s best regarded IP firm in the Great Place to Work Finland survey from 2009 to 2015, and in 2012, Boco rose to top of the Managing Intellectual Property’s listing of leading patent firms, demonstrating the firm’s worldwide reputation. In 2019, the firm was recognized as the Finnish Patent Prosecution Firm of the year at The Global IP Awards.

In 2013, the firm’s name was changed to Boco IP. The name is modern, and at the same time it carries with it all of the firm’s values, long history and dedication to the IP field. The story of the firm continues with the new name. Boco’s corporate culture is to be people-oriented, reliable and customer-focused and to provide the expertise that our customers need.

When Patent Counselor Pia Hjelt retired, experienced European Patent Attorney Annika Hakkila became the chair of the board. The firm’s ownership base grew further in 2014, when several of Boco IP’s attorneys became partners.


Right at the beginning of the 2020s, Boco IP wins the industry's most prestigious MIP and IAM research rankings for two years in a row, and are awarded “The Best Patent Firm in Finland” title. In 2020, Jonna Sahlin, Chairman of the Board, is elected to the TOP 250 Women in IP list.

The Covid-19 pandemic also brings a new normal to Boco's everyday life and remote working is becoming more common. New remote work practices are learned quickly and our office launches webinars that become popular.

In 2021, a second office is established for Boco IP in Tampere, and our firm starts cooperating with Innovation Home more widely.

In 2022, our IP Legal team is recognized as a Tier 1 firm in trademark prosecution at IP Stars. Our office moves from Ruoholahti to Kansakoulukatu 3 in Kamppi, where the Innovation Home community is filled with passionate people, who love what they do and thrive on helping each other. The location is steeped in history, as Boco IP’s office used to be right next door in Kansakoulukuja.