For the half-year to 30 June 2014, the IPKat's regular team is supplemented by contributions from guest bloggers Alberto Bellan, Darren Meale and Nadia Zegze.

Two of our regular Kats are currently on blogging sabbaticals. They are David Brophy and Catherine Lee.

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Best Practices in IP 2013: a conference report 1

This Kat is attending a conference, "Best Practices in Intellectual Property 2013: International Perspectives on Creating and Extracting Value", held at the Tel Aviv Sheraton, just a few yards from the sparkling Mediterranean.  The programme and the participants collectively demonstrated the magnetic pull of IP, since the attractions of the location were unable to lure the registrants from each other's company. Organised by corporate IP matchmaker Kim Lindy, this event reflects the need for professional networking and information-sharing to take place between in-housers free from the looming presence of private practitioners -- though private practice was not absent from the event: sponsors included Norton Rose, Modiano & Partners, df-mp, Naomi Assia Law Offices, Eliezri, Global IP Law Group, Smith Risley Tempel and Santos, Kangxin and Pearl Cohen Zedek Latzer, whose partner Zeev Pearl gave the opening address.

Zeev explained that the morning session was to be focused on building value in a patent portfolio, while the afternoon would concentrate on extracting value from it -- whether by selling innovative assets or via litigation. He then introduced veteran corporate IP expert and IP Hall of Fame inductee Ruud Peters (Executive VP, Philips), who spoke on the role of IP today as a strategic weapon: there was no better example of this than the mobile phone market where key IP was bought, sold, licensed and litigated. Less dramatically but no less importantly, shareholders are beginning to demand answers from corporate managers as to how they are deploying their IP -- and they are suing if they're not happy.  The systemic dimensions to IP should not be forgotten either: decreased patent quality leads to increased risks for business, he added.

Ruud Peters
Within Philips, IP is a business on its own, with its own profit and loss accounting. Being a global organisation with offices all round the world, the company is a process-and-project-driven company, with professionals being allocated to one project at a time and then reallocated to fresh projects when previous projects are concluded. These projects fall within one of five core areas of business, four of which are product-driven and the fifth of which is brand licensing. Ruud emphasised the need for collaboration with third part parties, both in identifying new gaps in the market and in filling those gaps.  He also spoke of the company's attitude towards portfolios: rather than have a patent portfolio, a trade mark portfolio etc, it made more sense to have an IP portfolio in respect of each product or project. While some IP is available for licence, other IP is sacrosanct and is not available for licensing by anyone.

IP facilitates open innovation, said Ruud, which is why you need IP even for innovation of that type.

Some quotable quotes from Ruud:
"If you can't show a return on an investment on IP, why would you do it?"
"A business strategy without an IP strategy is no strategy". 
"First find out where the gaps are and make up your mind how to fill the gaps".

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