They came, they listened, they chatted. And they ate very, very well.
The San Mateo Marriott welcomed IP leaders from many of the world’s most innovative companies to the IPforward 2018 conference (April 11) and User Group Meeting (April 10) last week. They left sated by compelling presentations, peer-to-peer networking and excellent food.
It was the fourth time we’ve invited in-house counsel and IP staff to learn from their peers, and everyone left enthused by real-world examples of what’s working and what’s possible in IP.
IPforward 2018 Conference
With an “Excellence in IP Strategy, Tactics & Operations” theme, the April 11 conference used a stellar speaker lineup to dive into a broad range of contemporary issues relevant to the 200+ attendees who work for some of the most active innovators in the world, such as Apple, Atlassian, Capital One, Dropbox, Facebook, FitBit, Google, Huawei, Intel, Oracle, Palantir, Roche, Samsung, Sony, Tencent, Tesla, Twilio, Visa and Walmart Labs.
A Full Day of “Here’s How We Do It”
After a brief welcome from IPfolio CEO and founder Rupert Mayer, Honeywell’s Asst. GC of Patent Operations Carrie Beatus kicked off IPforward 2018 with a deep dive into managing large complex and global IP operations. Working for a Fortune 100 with $40B in sales, 131,000 employees, 22,000 engineers, 40,000 active patent assets and an IP department of 60, she was able to simplify a process with lots of moving parts. (Despite bronchitis, she spoke enthusiastically and loudly. #trooper).
Michael Moore, Asst. GC, Products & Patents at Pure Storage, followed with a load of practical advice and wisdom for managing an IP department. Citing evidence that company engineers aren’t necessarily motivated by inventor compensation in the form of cash, Michael showed examples of the branded merchandise that has worked even better.
New Avon’s Dir. & Sr. Counsel IP & Innovation Joan McGillycuddy wrote many of the documents and contracts required for her company’s 2016 spin-off from parent company Avon, so she was a terrific voice to provide a perspective on IP strategy and management related to M&A.
Aligning the interests of the business and IP sides of the house was the subject of John Schiffhauer’s presentation. John, who recently left Intel where he was VP and Assoc. General Counsel, recommended that IP strategy must be widely evangelized and understood to create clarity and ensure priorities.
IDT’s Sr. Legal Director: IP, Licensing M&A Bruce Elder spoke about the importance of creating a data-driven IP value strategy and delivered great advice on implementing it. Bruce, a presenter at several IPforward conferences and dinners, always shares a huge amount of actionable value to attendees. He delivered in spades yet again. Thank you.
Did you know that Facebook has over 4,700 patents and that the WhatsApp acquisition included 1,300? Facebook’s Assoc. GC for Patents Gilbert Wong presented a detailed history of patenting at the social network. Included was his advice that building relationships and communication between IP and engineers can produce more disclosures and new patent apps.
Gary Moss and Christof Hohne, two partners from IP law firm EIP, were naturals to sit on stage for 45 minutes discussing “IP Strategy in a Changing Europe.” They were joined by Tesla’s Deputy GC, Chief IP & Litigation Counsel Jeff Risher and Taraneh Maghame, Sr. Dir., Wireless Programs & Corporate Development, Via Licensing Corporation. It was a necessarily wide-ranging discussion during which the impact of Brexit, of course, was discussed and dissected.
Increasing invention disclosure through education and encouragement, and efficiently managing the process were the themes of our last panel, a bi-coastal quartet. Sophos’ Sr. IP Paralegal Cheryl Wilder came from Boston to join Silicon Valley IP veterans Arien Ferrell, Sr. Patent Counsel, Assoc. GC at Intuit; Kevin McLintock, Dir., WW IP strategy at Logitech; and Diane Gabl Kratz, Sr. IP Counsel at Seagate. This was loaded with practical and tactical ideas and tips.
Target, which became synonymous with smart licensing and partnership agreements with designers, was in the spotlight as Sr. Director, Asst. GC (IP) Stephen Lee explained how IP is central to the retailers’ business strategy and revenue goals. Having worked in Target’s IP department for 15 years, Stephen had a ton of insider knowledge about how Target uses IP to distinguish every part of the shopper experience, from what it sells to the custom store fixtures on which these goods are merchandised. #FascinatingInsight
Artificial Intelligence was the theme of the final presentation as Eric Sutton, Sr. Patent Counsel at Oracle, spoke about how AI is already impacting IP portfolio management and development. Any sceptics in the audience would have been struggling to retain their convictions after Eric provided detailed examples, including how claims can be automatically analyzed at the keyword level.
IPfolio COO Mark Bullard closed the day by updating attendees on our almost vertiginous growth in the last six months and the fact that happy customers are a particularly satisfying part of the job for everyone in the company.
User Group Meeting
If the IPforward Conference was noticeably empty of any elements pitching IPfolio as the wonderful IP management platform it is, the April 10 User Group Meeting was nothing but product. This day was an up-close-and-personal opportunity for attendees to learn more about how we ensure “customer success” is—and will continue to be—a daily experience for each of them.
The day’s agenda included technical and strategic presentations from Rupert and Mark, in addition to Director of Product Management Dan Foster and Sr. Mgr. Client Success Tyler Dunk. The product roadmap was explained in detail as were partnerships in a session delivered by Godfrey Ryan, Global Head of Sales & Marketing at ipan.
An IP Army Marches on Its Stomach
Napoleon was a famous supporter of innovation so we’ll borrow one of his more well-known attributions as a subhead to briefly touch on the culinary elements of IPforward. They were really good. Kudos to the staff of the Marriott for keeping everyone well fed over both days.
Here’s some of the yumminess enjoyed by User Group Attendees at Tuesday’s dinner.
Those who stayed for Wednesday’s cocktail party were able to enjoy an excellent Veuve Cliquot. It was only fitting that at a conference celebrating innovation, we served a champagne brand shipped in innovative packaging—patented, of course!— that’s both lightweight and recyclable.
Access to the Sessions
IPforward Conference sessions were filmed and we’re discussing how to make them available online.
A big shoutout to our Guest Partner Sponsors EIP and ipan. We’ve been friends and professional colleagues with many in both companies for years. We loved having the support of both organizations again this year. Thank you.
Finally, a super grande thank you to the entire IPfolio team and the staff and management of the San Mateo Marriott for hosting our event and ensuring its success.
And to you the reader, consider this an early invitation to join us for IPforward 5.0 in 2019.