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.
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!
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!
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!!!
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.