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Interview with Béatrix de Russé

CIP is 20 years old this year.  What are the major changes that you have seen in the IP world over the past 20 years?

20 years ago, there was an increased awareness of the benefits of IP at the Board level in many companies; now it seems that this trend has more or less disappeared, except in Asia. China has emerged as a major IP actor, as evidenced by the number of filed patents and the establishment of special IP courts. But Europe is proving more resistant to IP coordination and reinforcement ( UPC, European patent …). The USA is again becoming more patent adverse. The opposition between IP promoters and their opponents has reached an unprecedented level.

What do you see as the major IP changes or challenges for the next 20 years?

More pressure on IP and increased difficulties for IP holders due to the current challenging of various groups promoting the free use of innovation; Chinese IP holders ” invading” the rest of the world with their patents ( quality will improve) and forcing westerners to use their technologies; continuous anti IP lobbying in sectors such as green and clean technologies or pharmacy; difficulties to adapt current IP rights to digital and dematerialized innovation.

What advice do you have on how to manage IP in times of crisis?

Continue to promote IP at all levels: governments, corporations, SMEs, etc; continue to innovate and file patents, while thinking of potentially new IP rights adapted to the new world; press for more coordination at worldwide level, including with China.

Will this current crisis create changes in how IP is used or managed and, will it last beyond the crisis?

Either this crisis will open eyes on the need for more coordination at regional and worldwide levels and efforts may lead to a revival of IP, even in different forms and to greater innovation for, ao, the pubic welfare. Or clusters will appear and major corporations will use their rights for their sole benefit, reducing competition, increasing prices, and impairing innovation…

About Béatrix de Russé’s role

After 20 years as the head of IP and Licensing at Thomson/Technicolor, I am now a consultant in IP strategy, licensing, etc.

Interview with Robertha Höglund

CIP is 20 years old this year. What are the major changes that you have seen in the IP world over the past 20 years?

The strategic importance of China as a market and region, the improvement and development of the Chinese IP system to be fairer to foreign companies; the sophistication in IP strategy in big tech companies such as Philips; Digitalisation, and big data. Even in very traditional production companies like Elkem these topics are very relevant and we deal with big data. We just created a Digital Office with a Head of Digital to coordinate all efforts in the organization via agile methodology. I also see many and more sophisticated products (software) to manage IP. Interesting Softwares to create patent Budgets, patent landscapes, patent metrics, Dashboards, interesting IP management systems, innovation systems, AI loaded Trademark search databases.
While trade secrets have always being used, the knowledge and awareness on how to manage them have increased at least in the last 5 years due to legislation in the USA and Europe. I have also seen an increase in litigations specifically related to Trade Secrets. I also have noticed a re-invention of classical IP firms to become more of a business adviser. For example Awapatent now rebranded as AWA. Gone are the golden days when IP law firms were charging so much for doing only translations and extending PCT Applications. Taking attorney fees for many tasks that were purely administrative. Lastly, this one is not a major change, but the proportion that intangible assets have in the valuation of a company has increased with an additional 4%.

What do you see as the major IP changes or challenges for the next 20 years?

Artificial Intelligence. It is a challenge in the way that we will see more inventions generated by AI entities and right now current IP laws are not written to protect such inventions as they are meant to protect the efforts of the human mind. I believe that in the very long term, these laws may change, but then we also need the creation of new laws to define an artificial entity and its rights. Another challenge that I see is still the lack of understanding about IP outside of the IP bubble. It is still normal to have ignorance about IP in the c-suite. Maybe a challenge for us practitioners is to speak a language that business people understand.
I hope that a positive IP change in the next 20 years is the inclusion of IP courses as part of the normal curriculum in business, medical and engineering schools. It should not be a niche education! In my opinion, IP courses are as important as basic finance courses. Very costly mistakes are done because young students that become professionals don’t have a clue about IP. I cringe when I hear colleagues say they will patent a word. But that really does not have any economic impact, but when a researcher comes up with something new and he/she publishes it before patent protection, good luck with the damage control.

What advice do you have on how to manage IP in times of crisis?

Don’t panic and don’t lose your long term focus. All crises past at some point and you must be prepared for the good times. Of course don’t indulge with registrations you don’t need but keep protecting your assets. In the world of patents, a missed deadline to enter the national phase is a missed deadline. So if the product is strategic, take the cost, and suck it up. Better times will await.
Also, talk your way with your agents to negotiate better rates and explore the use of specialized translations firms that can give you savings when dealing with multiple translations for entering the national phase of a PCT application. Negotiate with your suppliers when the time to renew the contract for whatever software you use arrives. You need the product, your manager is pushing you to cut costs, and sellers want to sell as they earn on commission so often times they are willing to give discounts in times of crisis.

Will this current crisis create changes in how IP is used or managed and, will it last beyond the crisis?

If you are talking about the pandemic with Covid-19, nothing has really changed for us in terms of serving our internal customers. We keep super busy. However, a positive consequence of this pandemic has been the forced digitalization pace in the IP department. We have made considerable improvements in our internal routines to deal with less paper and having a true mobile IP department. We also have had more efficient and cheaper meetings because they are executed via TeamsMeetings.
So we should definitely keep these good habits after Covid-19. We also used the opportunity to take many interesting Webinars on different IP topics that we found via LinkedIn. They were for free and very useful. One thing that is not the same is the face-to-face IP training for particular groups of employees. The internal courses are appreciated and we like to organize them as we also have some sort of social moment. For this we very much hope we are able to resume our training after the autumn, but it is not certain it will happen.

About Robertha Höglund’s role

Manage the Intellectual assets of Elkem ASA, educate employees on the topic of Intellectual Property, and draft IP policies in the Company. And what I dream that I do is to generate a super IP savvy C-suite in my organization. I hope one day I do that.

Interview with Raymond Millien

CIP is 20 years old this year. What are the major changes that you have seen in the IP world over the past 20 years?

I think the one major change I have seen is the recognition of the value of IP by not only the C-suite but also the financial community-at-large (i.e., “Wall Street”). When I started practicing IP law over 20 years ago, it was still seen as some niche area of the law with little business value. This has obviously changed in the last two decades.

What do you see as the major IP changes or challenges for the next 20 years?

In the next 20 years, I see one main challenge in the IP space (and this is something that remains unsolved since I have been in this field): How do we get more certainty around the value of individual IP assets and then bring liquidity to such valuations. Still, today, that remains a challenge!

What advice do you have on how to manage IP in times of crisis?

There is no doubt that in times like this, managing IP has to revolve more around trade secret identification and protection! This is due to the fact that we are living through a time of massive layoffs, heightened job uncertainty, and increasing opportunistic job-switching. The historical and typical approach of focusing solely on patents will not work!

Will this current crisis create changes in how IP is used or managed and, will it last beyond the crisis?

I sure hope it does! In times of crisis, people get more innovative. These “people” cannot be limited to IP clients. It has to apply to the IP industry (i.e., the lawyers, agents, service providers, etc.) as well!!!

About Raymond Millien’s role

As CIPO at Volvo Cars, I am responsible for leading the Intellectual Property (IP) department, and I am also the MD of our corporate venture capital arm. Thus, I would sum up my role by saying the teams I have the fortune of leading try to be an effective business partner in driving the growth of Volvo Cars. This is done by identifying, protecting, monetizing, and investing in the IP rights surrounding our brands, those resulting from R&D, and complimentary startup technologies and solutions.

Interview with Brian Hinman

CIP is 20 years old this year. What are the major changes that you have seen in the IP world over the past 20 years? 

The IP world has seen many significant changes overall, with the most significant being a worldwide appreciation for the value of IP in an organization. The shift from tangible to intangible assets is pronounced and has garnered the attention of C suite executives in every organization since it reflects the strength of innovation and how impactful the intangible (IP) fruits of this innovation can be on the revenue stream of any company. Another major change has been in the growth of IP litigation from both competitors and Non-Practicing-Entities (NPEs).
This growth creates major disruption for every technology industry and has resulted in the emergence of patent defensive entities like AST (which I founded), RPX, Unified Patents (which I co-founded), LOT, OIN, etc. Another significant change has been the emergence of SEP’s (Standard Essential Patents) which are patents that claim inventions that must be used to comply with a technical standard. Determining which patents are essential to a particular standard can be complex and there are certain rules that require licensing of SEPs to be on fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory (FRAND) terms. The inability of worldwide courts to consistently rule on what is considered FRAND has been a heavily debated topic that is still unsettled.

What do you see as the major IP changes or challenges for the next 20 years?

I think there will be further sharing of best practices among the world’s leading patent offices to ensure better alignment and to address shortcomings on issues such as patent quality and cost. In addition, the role of technologies like artificial intelligence will become fully embraced by these patent offices in securing quality claims in a timely manner.
An area of IP that has exploded with growth is in the area of trade secrets, and this will continue to be an area that companies will embrace, but these companies will also need to address potential shortcomings in their ability to identify, protect and manage these ‘crown jewel’ assets. Legislations like the DTSA, the EU Trade Secrets Directive, and the Anti-Unfair Competition Law in China will continue to have an effect on streamlining how trade secrets will be interpreted by the court systems worldwide.

What advice do you have on how to manage IP in times of crisis? 

Companies will need to focus on reducing expenses to preserve cash, seeking capital for liquidity, and move to protect their balance sheets in the hope of re-imagining a stronger future. IP assets are critical to addressing these crisis-driven objectives. Companies need to address the balance between spending money to secure an optimal IP portfolio (inclusive of all types of IP) and at the same time focusing on quality. These companies need to re-examine key innovation initiatives while focusing on enterprise value creation through IP build strategies.

Will this current crisis create changes in how IP is used or managed and, will it last beyond the crisis? 

I think the current crisis has already affected companies in how they contain costs associated with patent portfolio management and are taking a closer look at individual assets to try and determine relevance and strategic importance. This will continue beyond the current crisis since it is a prudent exercise to embark upon and companies are recognizing this.

About Brian Hinman’d role

Brian Hinman is the Chief Commercial Officer of Aon IP Solutions part of the senior leadership team, which delivers IP solutions that enhance our client’s enterprise value by executing IP‐based value creation strategies and mitigating IP risk exposure. Brian helps lead the efforts for Aon in seizing the generational opportunity to establish market‐accepted standards for assessing and valuing the IP asset class for businesses and investors.

Malin Stenbom

SUMMER 2019

Company: Elypta
Location: Stockholm, Sweden
Time period: 10 weeks during June through August

My name is Malin Stenbom. I got to spend my summer at Elypta, working with earlier cancer detection, as a Business Development intern. My background is within Biotechnology and the ICM track has really given me the opportunity to stay in the field but look at it from a different perspective. Throughout these years we’ve been part of several projects, some simulated working with biotech for agriculture and some real looking at how to bring MedTech research to market.

All these projects have now prepared me for my thesis at BioVentureHub where one needs to understand what is required to bring innovation in the life science field to market. I’m currently writing my Master’s thesis during my final semester at the Intellectual Capital Management (ICM) track at Chalmers School of Entrepreneurship. Together with my thesis partner I’m studying AstraZeneca’s BioVentureHub and writing about how you can develop Key Performance Indicators in an innovation initiative between Big Pharma and SMEs.

I’m looking forward to following the rest of my classmates and how all of our theses will develop during the spring, but the truly interesting thing will be to see what all of us are up to next year.

Frida Femling

SUMMER 2019

Company: Richardson Oliver Insights
Location: Silicon Valley, USA
Time period: 10 weeks during June through August

My name is Frida Femling. I would like to share with you my summer as an intern at Richardson Oliver Insights. This is a data-driven firm based in Silicon Valley. They help enable patent transactions and the patent market by providing reliable, comprehensive data-driven solutions to patent buyers, sellers and decision-makers. A key element of these services is helping participants find the most valuable patents. How they do this? I’ll explain:

They use a patent ranking system they developed in-house, established in 2015. The ranking system is built on a couple of metrics functioning as value indicators for patents. An example of a metric commonly used when ranking patents is the number of forwarding references from later patents. If a patent has a greater number of forwarding references compared to similar patents within the same technical field, that patent is likely to be of higher importance. My main task this summer was to develop this ranking system further by validating or invalidating the metrics for the existing ranking system and finding additional potential metrics to implement to improve the ranking system. This project included collecting data, sorting it, extracting the key data, visualizing it through Python, and developing the updated ranking algorithms.

During this summer I realized how important the Intellectual Property Strategies course I took was. I worked with patents for 2,5 months on this project and the knowledge I needed about intellectual property that I had gained from the course was invaluable.

But, enough of IP! On top of patents, programming, and math, I did a lot of other things. I climbed mountains in Yosemite, visited Facebook’s headquarters, cruised down Highway 1, celebrated 4th of July, tried freshly baked donuts, hiked in Muir Woods, and explored San Francisco (almost every weekend). The Bay Area is amazing and I can definitely recommend applying for an internship here. I had the opportunity to combine IP with programming, data analysis, math, and statistics with the most talented patent crew in Silicon Valley. And I want to take the opportunity to encourage you all to be brave and apply for an internship even though you might believe you don’t have all the qualifications. The willingness to learn and a positive mindset is the way to get there.

Sanna Lundin

SUMMER 2019

Company: Saab Avionics
Location: Huskvarna, Sweden
Time period: 10 weeks during June through August

My name is Sanna Lundin and I am currently in the second year of the ICM track at Chalmers School of Entrepreneurship.

During the summer of 2019, I did a 10-week internship at Saab Avionics in Huskvarna. Most Swedes hear Saab and think of cars, Saab Avionics, however, make technology that goes into aircrafts! 🛩 In my role, I was a member of the Strategy team and was mainly working with the evaluation of collaboration and IP licensing opportunities. The role involved driving projects independently as well as in collaboration with peers and gave hands-on experience with strategic IP work which is unheard of for 1st-year master students outside of our education! The position was part of the internship program that teachers and alumni from Chalmers School of Entrepreneurship create for 1st-year students.

As students at Chalmers School of Entrepreneurship, we are very lucky to be part of a network of dedicated teachers, students, and the Elumni network. Elumni is what alumni from Chalmers School of Entrepreneurship are called. Throughout all courses, Elumni has been engaging through guest lectures, cases, and other engagements.

PS. In the pictures you see me posing in the Saab elevator and some cows that are just a short walk from the SAAB offices! Truly a mix of worlds when taking a break from work to go out in the sunshine to look at cows and pet dogs!

Thanks for reading!

Ellenor Hayes

Summer 2019

Company: Spotify
Location: Stockholm, Sweden
Time period: 10 weeks during June through August

My name is Ellenor Hayes and I am currently enrolled in the Intellectual Capital Management (ICM) track at Chalmers University of Technology, in Sweden. I am going to tell you about my summer spent at Spotify—a Swedish “unicorn” and the world’s top audio streaming platform.

The ICM track, a track led by CIP is about developing tools and understanding frameworks to evaluate technology assets and design intellectual property (IP) based business strategies in various contexts. As a music lover and podcast addict, I was thrilled to have the opportunity to apply the new skills and insights I had developed over the first year of my Masters’ at Spotify.

Over the three-month project, I explored how Spotify’s R&D teams can work with the IP team to more proactively identify, claim, and protect Spotify’s intellectual assets. The relevance and impact of my work (not to mention the incredible rooftop terrace at Spotify HQ in Stockholm) meant that I couldn’t have wished for a better way to have spent my summer!