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“Diversity of Perspectives” Highlight 3rd IPforward Conference

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Image: A lot of expertise on stage for "The Art and Science of Creating IP Value" session

More than 125 IP professionals from the USA, Canada, and several European countries joined us last week for IPforward 2017. It was the third annual gathering we’ve organized for in-house counsel and IP operations staff to learn from their peers.

The “Excellence in IP Strategy, Tactics & Operations” theme and content were well received, and will undoubtedly influence the IP decisions they make at Alibaba, Facebook, Google, Lenovo, Tesla, Uber and others.

What jumped out in on-site and post-event feedback from attendees was the importance they placed on diversity. Whether it was something in the speakers’ presentations, the lively Q&As, the unscripted panel back-and-forths, or even during an impromptu chat during lunch, the many definitions of diversity were a highlight that attendees let us know they greatly appreciated:

“I enjoyed learning new aspects of IP, and hearing different perspectives from my peers.”

“There were very diverse opinions and perspectives about IP strategy and management.  I loved that there were so many women speaking!”

“The event was very in-house, shop-talk focused - not necessarily about the law (like most conferences), but more sharing about how professionals deal with it on the implementation end. A good diversity of viewpoints and experiences - interesting, and unlike most conferences I've been to.”

Peer-to-Peer Sharing for In-House Counsel and Staff

We envisaged the IPforward conference as just this sort of opportunity; a learning and networking event for in-house IP counsel and operations staff to learn how some of the most innovative organizations in the world build and manage high value IP portfolios and execute advanced IP strategy.

Because IP isn’t a commodity and a universal “best IP strategy” doesn’t exist, diversity is something we focussed on when we began last fall to program sessions and invite speakers to join us in Redwood Shores, CA. The agenda certainly delivered:

Wisdom from One of America’s Most Prolific Inventors  

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Image: Lonnie Johnson inspires the crowd with his personal narrative of innnovation

The day kicked off with a fantastic 45-minute keynote by big thinking genius Lonnie Johnson. Although widely known as the inventor of the Super Soaker water and Nerf N-Strike dart guns, his presentation focussed on his recent green tech work and the iterative process of developing and commercializing revolutionary power generation and energy storage solutions.

Lonnie closed by encouraging attendees to think about “diversity of inventors” so that more innovative minorities can access opportunities in the Silicon Valley. Attendees loved the session and let us know:

“Fascinating opening keynote by a prolific inventor--great to have a thought-provoking, relevant but nonlegal speaker at the conference.”

“Enjoyed the practical and real world discussions and topics. Lonnie Johnson as the keynote speaker was icing on the cake.”

Real-World Relevance: Actionable Advice to Implement

Tao Zhang, Senior Director of IP Strategy at Huawei Device US wrote the book on patent valuation. (Seriously, you can buy it on Amazon). In “Patent Valuation – New Frontiers, New Challenges,” Tao explained many of the variables and scenarios related to calculating portfolio values.

Workday Deputy General Counsel IP Lisa McFall led the “The Art and Science of Creating IP Value” panel. Lisa and Teddy Joe, Zynga’s Mayor of Patentville, are both past IPforward speakers. They were joined by Jasminder Brar, Director, IP & IP Counsel, Titan Medical Inc.; Seagate Technology Senior IP Attorney Diane Gabl Kratz; and Scott Heileson, Head of Intellectual Property, X – The Moonshot Factory.

Heather McCann, a European patent attorney and partner at EIP Europe LLP, moderated the “Global IP Strategy – Effective Protection Around the World” panel. Knowles Electronics Deputy General Counsel, IP Renee DuBord Brown; Uber Director, Intellectual Property Michael Meehan; and IDT Legal Director & Head of IP Bruce Elder joined her on stage. (Bruce has previously shared some of this experience with readers of the IPfolio blog).

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Image: IDT's Bruce Elder can both educate and entertain when discussing IP

Facebook, Linked, GoPro and Expedia are all American companies operating on a global level and we were delighted to have some of their in-house IP experts speak about the “Critical Lessons from Managing Global Brands.” Liza Garibaldi, Lead Trademark Paralegal at Facebook, LinkedIn Global Trademark Counsel Katherine McGowan, GoPro IP Paralegal Diane Lau and Jennifer Ennis Bollen, who is Senior IP Paralegal at Expedia, helped attendees understand the challenges of protecting IP assets, particularly trademarks.

Nigel Hsu, who spoke at IPforward 2016, joined Google Data Scientist Ashley Eadon for the day’s final session, “Data-driven IP Management.” Nigel is Director, Legal Operations for Waymo, the autonomous car company spun out of Google's parent company, Alphabet Inc., last year. They were ideally qualified to speak about how use data to accomplish a lot in a brief period of time.

The IPfolio Roadmap

IPfolio CEO Rupert (in our humble opinion, the friendliest man in IP) closed the agenda by updating attendees on our product roadmap and exciting new technical and integrations that will be coming to the IPfolio platform in 2017 and beyond. Our “Automation, Collaboration and Connected Services” vision continues to blossom and expand, fueled by our engineering team and our partners.

A Word For Our Sponsors

We want to give a great shoutout to EIP, SimpleLegal and ipan, three of our partners who helped sponsor IPforward 2017. The rewards for collaborating with these companies includes not only the product and service value that their respective offerings deliver to our customers and the IPfolio ecosystem, but also the fact that their leadership and staff are just nice people to hang out with, or share dinner and a joke with. Thank you again to everyone for believing as we do in the value of IPforward to the IP community.

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Image: ipan Sales Manager Spencer Slaine (left) with IPfolio CEO Rupert Mayer

What do you think of IPforward Europe?

We’re thinking of organizing an IPforward event that’s a little closer to our customers and IP friends in Europe, Africa and the Middle East. Plans are very preliminary, but as the number of IPforward attendees from those regions and our commercial success there continue to grow, doesn’t it make sense to get together in, say, Barcelona? (Drop us a note at ipforward@ipfolio.com and let us know what you think).

In closing, we’d like to thank the entire IPfolio team and the staff and management of the Pullman San Francisco Bay Hotel for hosting our event. Thank you to everyone, and consider this an early invitation to join us for IPForward 4.0 in April 2018. We’d love to see you there!


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