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Silicon Valley IP Leaders Gather at IPforward Conference

June 26, 2015

“If you’re going to get into a fight, you want to have at least 10 patents that you can assert.”


“In the Valley, many software engineers consider themselves IP open sourcers.”


“At my first meeting with the senior management team, the CTO said he hates patents.”


“If you can spend the money to file a patent, you can spend the money to reward inventors.”


“Fixed-fee arrangements with outside counsel are a stupid idea.”

These are just a handful of the nuggets thrown out yesterday by speakers at our first IPforward conference in San Mateo, an event focused on the business side of IP.

Attendees, who came from a half-dozen states for a great turnout, heard from IP experts driving strategy at companies including Bio-Rad, Logitech, Quixey, Square, Workday, Zynga, and more. Individual presentations were bookmarked by lively panel discussions and lots of active participation from a great audience made up of almost 90% in-house counsel. Companies represented ranged from startups to Silicon Valley icons like Google, Facebook and Yahoo.

IPforward networking break

IP Strategy, Culture, and Collaboration

Lisa McFall, Deputy General Counsel for Intellectual Property at Workday, kicked off the sessions with her presentation on Defining Your IP Strategy and Selling it to the C-Suite. She laid out a framework for creating the right portfolio with a clarity that drew raves from the audience. Lisa's presentation also included much-appreciated hands-on, real-life examples of success stories as well as cautionary tales.

Teddy Joe, who clearly has the coolest title in the IP world – Mayor of Patentville – is Zynga’s senior IP counsel. His Selling the [idea of the] Patent Portfolio talk included lots of food for thought on getting the message out within the company, as well as details on how an IPfolio-driven Inventor Portal has raised participation by the engineering team.

Quixey, which is probably one of the Valley’s fastest growing startups, loaned us its VP of IP Taher Savliwala for the morning. In his talk on Building your IP Dream Team, Taher provided a play-by-play account of how he uses outside contractors to really stretch his IP budget with incredible efficiency and ROI. He certainly opened people’s eyes about the possibilities to outsource patent drafting work in very intelligent and unconventional ways, prompting the comment “you are a genius” from a Chief IP Counsel in the audience.

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Overwhelming Feedback

With 85% of the participants in our post-event survey rating IPforward “Excellent” and the remaining 15% giving us “Very Good” marks, everyone seems to agree that IPforward was a fantastic opportunity for both networking and earning CLE credits. The positive feedback continues to pour in, and we can't help but share some comments made after the sessions and in response to the survey:

“It was a home run - everyone engaged and great information passed along.”


“Relevant and full of people that are handling the same issues so that we can all help each other out.”


“Very sophisticated and thought provoking.”


“The conference was hitting on many topics that are real issues for me now.”


“The presenters were bringing a very in-house perspective and were approaching problems from a non-conventional direction.”


“Better than any of the recent ‘big’ IP conferences I have attended.”


“The speakers did an excellent job of providing practical advice, with detailed examples.”


“Probably the best IP conference I have been to.”


“It was invaluable!”

Of course, there are some learnings as well with this first-time event format, the most important being that 30 minutes are too short for a panel with a broad topic, great speakers and an engaged audience. There will certainly be a next time to incorporate the suggestions for improvements we have received.

A big Thank You from the IPfolio team to all those who participated and made it great, and to the Silicon Valley Innovation Center for hosting us. It has been our honor to facilitate this dialog.

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