“There are lots of creative options for leveraging Intellectual Property that aren’t obvious.”
This is one of the many thoughtful takeaways from last Thursday when a Who’s Who of IP professionals gathered in San Mateo, CA for IPforward 2016, our second annual conference.
Attendee feedback from the inaugural half-day event in 2015 was so enthusiastic that we expanded IPforward to a full day this year to encompass a wider agenda of IP strategy, tactics and operations topics.
The expanded agenda, which featured speakers from IDT, SolarCity, Verily (formerly Google Life Sciences), Workday, and Zynga, attracted more than 75 IP professionals from Silicon Valley, across the USA and Canada, and several European countries. It was a great learning and networking event with IP experts – primarily in-house counsel and operations staff – from some of the most innovative organizations in the world, including Apple, Facebook, Fairchild Semiconductor, Google, GoPro, Palantir, Samsung, SAP, Stanford University, SunPower, Tessera, and Visa, among many others.
IPforward Conference Session Recap: Actionable Expertise
A returning 2015 speaker, Workday’s Deputy General Counsel for IP, Lisa McFall distilled her “Scenario-Based IP Strategy: How to Plan for the Best and Prepare for the Worst” session into a detailed roadmap for both offensive and defensive prosecution and litigation. She encouraged attendees to “understand the role that every patent plays in your portfolio because you can do a lot with a little bit of money if you are thinking strategically.”
In a fascinating session entitled “Alternative IP Strategies: Why We Need them and How We Got Here,” SolarCity’s Deputy General Counsel Brett Alten (pictured above) discussed a variety of less conventional approaches to leveraging intellectual property assets. Brett also covered the benefits of patent communities to counter trolls, and provided an extensive list of examples such as LOT Network, of which he is a director.
Bruce Elder spent 15 years in sales and marketing before becoming a lawyer. The Legal Director of IP & Licensing at semiconductor developer IDT, he addressed “How to Scale and Grow your Patent Portfolio” as both a legal expert and former business executive. He provided numerous examples of how to translate IP considerations into business and financial priorities so in-house counsel can secure the support they need to be effective. According to Bruce, every IP counsel needs to be able to answer, “How am I contributing to the value of my business?”
Lisa, Brett and Bruce then wrapped up the morning session with a wide-ranging fireside chat about IP strategy. Their advice on how to determine whether you’re going to get sued and when was a highlight for many in the audience.
Nigel Hsu managed an international team of technical experts supporting the development of Google's patent portfolio, leaving to become Verily’s Head of Patent Operations in October 2015. “Achieving and Measuring Operational Excellence in IP” was his detailed review of how he has spent seven months identifying priorities and creating detailed IP management processes as he has developed Verily’s IP department. We were thrilled to hear him describe how IPfolio is making this work so much easier.
Bruce and Teddy Joe, Senior Patent Counsel at Zynga (the “Mayor of Patentville”) joined Nigel on stage for a “Managing a Lean IP Operation” roundtable. Their experience working with external vendors enabled them to speak convincingly about general outsourcing issues, as well as specific patent writing, reporting, dashboard management and billing challenges and solutions.
Looking Ahead: IP Product Roadmap Unveiled
The day closed with an overview by CEO Rupert Mayer of IPfolio’s product roadmap, an exciting future for us that emphasizes Automation, Collaboration and Connected Services. We were also delighted to welcome two of our newest partners, Lumen IP and ipan. Lumen Co-Founder Greg Daines and ipan CEO Phil Henderson spoke about the benefits of delivering their docketing, patent annuity, and trademark renewal services through the IPfolio ecosystem.
100 Customers and Growing Fast
Our second IPforward Conference was not only an opportunity to mix with customers, prospective customers and partners, it was also an opportunity to celebrate our 100th customer – in fact by the time the conference ended, IPfolio had 106 customers. It’s a great milestone for Rupert, who identified an opportunity in the legal tech market and launched IPfolio back in 2012:
“IPforward was once again a big day for us. It was amazing to see everyone so engaged, and such a vibrant community full of positive energy and enthusiasm developing around IPfolio. Great feedback has been pouring in since then, and I can't agree more with one of our attendees who summarized it with these words: ‘The industry needs more of this.’”
You’re Invited! To Learn, Contribute and Attend
We look forward to providing more of “this” through events, content and expertise. We also extend a very early invitation to attend IPforward 3.0 next year. Finally, we must recognize the entire IPfolio team as well as the staff and management of the San Mateo Marriott, who did an exemplary job hosting our event. Thank you to everyone!