We were delighted to have two members of our team make the trip to Asia last week, marking our second consecutive year at the IP Business Congress (IPBC) conference. The IPBC is an event hosted by Intellectual Asset Management (IAM) and each year brings together IP experts from all over the world to discuss intellectual property issues affecting the Asia-Pacific region. For us, the three-day event was filled with great discussion and networking, as well as a very impressive lineup of speakers and panels.
Attendee statistics haven’t been released just yet, but last year’s delegate pool was about 55% corporations, 26% law firms/patent agents, and 19% investors, academics and government officials. Senior IP representatives testify to the value of the IPBC’s event roster year after year, as it has become a hub for thought leadership on patents and other IP-related developments.
The conference breakout sessions were well put-together and included regional topics such as: Asia’s IP Future, Building effective IP portfolios, Asia’s elite IP companies, Effective strategic patent acquisition, and more. For a full listing of the programs offered at the conference, check out the IPBC website.
Shown from left: Hua Wang, RWS Beijing & Kiki Tanousis, inovia
inovia was proud to sponsor the IPBC for the second year and it was truly a pleasure meeting with the many delegates that stopped by our booth. We again found the event to be extremely beneficial and, from our perspective, it seemed that all of the attendees shared in our positive experience. A special congrats to IAM and the many other vendors who helped to coordinate such a successful conference and we look forward to next year!
Earlier this week, several members of the inovia team attended the inaugural IP Business Congress (IPBC) China event in Beijing. The IPBC is hosted by Intellectual Asset Management magazine and inovia has attended previous IPBC events in San Francisco and Lisbon. The IPBC China attracted over 500 attendees from all over the world, representing law firms, corporate IP departments, IP service providers, and IP management firms.
Joff Wild, Editor of IAM, gave the opening welcome and the event kicked off with a discussion of “Building IP value,” led by speakers from SanDisk, Novartis Pharma AG, Nokia, the Transpacific IP Group Limited, and Alibaba Group. China is an important market from both a business and IP perspective; PCT applications from China saw 33.4% growth in 2011 with 16,406 applications filed. In this session, the speakers discussed the value of IP from a business, legal and branding perspective, and also discussed the issue of patent quality versus quantity.
“IP has been so critical in our sector for a long time, but the base by which we have monetized IP has changed,” shared Paul Melin, Chief IP office of Nokia. “Monetization is more central now, making our IP more visible to investors.”
Many speakers commented that in order to create IP value, there must be company-wide buy-in.
“It’s not inexpensive to create a meaningful portfolio,” Jim Brelsford, Chief Legal Officer and Senior Vice President of IP Licensing for SanDisk commented. “In the beginning you need to determine where you need protection and you need to consider the product pipeline. You don’t always know which patent is going to add value down the road, so you need broad buy-in.”
Roger Shang, Chief Patent and Technology Counsel for Alibaba Group shared that IP is not only a defense mechanism but a means for collaboration between different groups, such as the legal department and R&D.
Brand is also a key consideration with thinking about an IP strategy and IP monetization. For Alibaba, launching new products comes with careful consideration about where they fit in with the company’s overall branding strategy, and how that impacts their IP strategy.
Inside China’s leading IP companies
On day two, panelists from China’s leading IP companies gathered to discuss the value of IP and the IP management operations at their companies. The panel included speakers from ZTE, who was the biggest filer of PCT applications in 2011, Goldwind Science & Technology, Simcere Pharmaceutical Group, Founder Group, Baidu, and Datang Telecom Technology & Industry Group.
For ZTE, Chief IP Officer Haibo Wang commented that IPR is used as a defense mechanism against competitors but also a means for generating return. The company has 80,000 employees and 30-40% of them are in R&D roles, so creating IP is a critical part of their business.
Xuehong Zhang, General Manager of the Legal & IP Department at Datang commented that patent applications are the “starting and ending points” of their business. The company’s IP strategy has been emphasized all the way to top-level management so that the company can share a vision of innovation.
A key question of the panel was how to maintain patent quality in China, since there has been a sharp increase in patent filings in the country.
Wang commented that for ZTE, patent quality is critically important, although he doesn’t view quantity and quality as being contradictory to one another. “Which is more important is determined by the company’s judgment at a given stage in development,” he said.
Xuri Yang, IP Rights and Intangible Capital Director of the Founder Group commented that the country began taking the patent law seriously a little over a decade ago, and that patent development will be a process of evolution over time. He also commented that quality versus quantity cannot be properly assessed without considering a company’s tactics, be them defensive or otherwise.
Finally, the speakers discussed their companies’ relationships with the service providers that they work with.
Park Zhang, Head of Patents at Baidu, said that because their in-house IP department is small, they rely on an outside law firm to conduct a lot of their work. They consider their law firm a partner and want them to share their corporate vision.
Kai Wu, Executive Vice President of Goldwind Science & Technology, also commented that service providers need to constantly increase their skills and competences especially in emerging fields like new energy. Service providers must have expert technical knowledge.
Wang also shared that despite the large size of ZTE’s business, they still require the work of over 20 different outside firms to handle their IP. They look for their outside law firms to have a global vision so that they can help ZTE navigate risk in the global market. ZTE also relies on service providers for patent analysis and management resources.
China IP Champions Gala Dinner
A highlight of the IPBC China was the China IP Champions Gala Dinner, held on Monday night. At the dinner, 33 Chinese companies were honored for their IP management and value creation strategies.
With assistance from inovia and Ciela, IAM’s team conducted both qualitative and quantitative research to identify these IP Champions:
aigo Digital Technology Co, Ltd
BYD Co, Ltd
Chery Automobile Co, Ltd
China Electronics Corporation
China Kweichow Moutai Distillery Co, Ltd
China Mengniu Dairy Company Limited
China Mobile Limited
China Petrochemical Corporation (Sinopec Group)
Datang Telecom Technology & Industry Group
Goldwind Science & Technology Co, Ltd
Gree Electric Appliances Inc of Zhuhai
Huawei Technologies Co, Ltd
Hutchison MediPharma Limited
Lenovo Group Limited
Li Ning Company Limited
Mindray Medical International Limited
Netac Technology Co, Ltd
PetroChina Company Limited
Shanda Interactive Entertainment Limited
Simcere Pharmaceutical Group
Tsingtao Brewery Company Limited
Zhejiang Geely Holding Group
The dinner was a wonderful event and we enjoyed hearing about the achievements of these companies. You can learn more about the research process for China’s IP Champions and get details of the work they have done at IAM’s website.
I really enjoyed the inaugural IPBC China, which marked my first visit to China. The event presented a great opportunity to network and learn about IP from the perspective of leading Chinese companies, as well as the importance of IP as a global business asset.
IP professionals’ favorite holiday is right around the corner: World IP Day is tomorrow, April 26.
In honor of IP’s special day, the Licensing Executives Society (LES) is hosting a month-long celebration with global events “aimed at connecting IP, licensing and business professionals, as well as entrepreneurially-minded students, across the globe in an effort to move innovation forward.”
inovia’s own Foreign Filing Specialists, Jasmine Cruz and Susanne Kennedy, attended one of these celebratory events last week. The LES NYC Chapter hosted a “Fireside Chat” with Sue Purvis, the USTPO’s Innovation and Outreach Coordinator in New York. Ms. Purvis works closely with Cornell University as they build Cornell NYC Tech, a new graduate school for entrepreneurial technologists. Arnold Burstein, Executive Vice President with the BioLumina Group, served as the event’s moderator.
At the event, Ms. Purvis discussed a variety of topics, among the most popular being the America Invents Act (AIA). She said that filings have decreased since the AIA’s final provisions went into effect on March 16, 2013, from about 1400 to 900 daily filings. Also, since the first-to-file provision has put the US in line with the patent law of nearly every other country, Ms. Purvis believes that the US will continue to harmonize its laws with the rest of the world – although the process will take many years.
During the Q&A session, one attendee brought up another hot-button issue – software IP rights. Ms. Purvis replied that patent attorneys need to be more diligent about drafting claims for software applications to avoid infringement. Under 35 U.S.C. § 112, if a claimed means requires programming to carry out its function, then the specification must include an algorithm to support the claim – without it the claim can be rendered invalid.
Ms. Purvis also discussed the USPTO’s prioritized examination program. The program started as a pilot and she is uncertain whether or not it will continue; however, she ensured the audience that the USPTO has a team in place to monitor the quality of the examination of fast-tracked applications. The USPTO provides examiners with a dashboard that outlines what they should be looking for in each application.
She also mentioned that if an applicant feels that they are not getting the type of attention/response that they need from the examiner, the applicant can register a complaint higher up in the organization.
Much of Ms. Purvis’ work at the USPTO focuses on partnerships and the USPTO is constantly seeking organizations to work with in order to support innovation. The USPTO and AutoHarvest, a non-profit organization which aims to foster communication and intellectual property development in the automotive industry, recently announced that they will be working together to spur innovation and generate jobs in advanced manufacturing. The collaboration will also synch with the USPTO’s satellite office in Detroit (which opened in July 2012) and will foster community outreach programs there.
While World IP Day is just one day, the LES is hosting a number of upcoming events for IP professionals to participate in. Today there were 8 events happening in the US and Canada! LES International is also hosting a number of events around the world. inovia‘s New York office will be celebrating tomorrow (stay tuned) — we hope you find a fun way to celebrate IP’s biggest day!
RWS Group-inovia will be returning to INTA for the 138th Annual Meeting on May 21st – May 25th in Orlando, FL. This year, over 9,500 IP professionals are expected to attend the premier international trademark and IP event.
We invite you to stop by Booths 1209 & 1211 where we will be presenting live demos of our online foreign filing platform and giving away some awesome swag.
If you are interested in scheduling a meeting outside of the exhibition hall, please contact us here or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to set up a sit down with the below attendees:
- Caroline Chenique, Head of Global Business Development – Paris, France
- Charles Sitch, Managing Director – Chalfont St Peter, UK
- Clint Gaffney, Senior Vice President – New York, NY
- Doug Eitelman, Senior Director, Business Development – Tolland, CT
- Candida Jaco, Senior Manager, Business Development – London, UK
- Chris Karel, Senior Director, Business Development – Orlando, FL
- Ben Curley, General Manager, inovia operations – Sydney, Australia
We hope to see you in Orlando soon. For continuous coverage from the meeting and other patent related updates, follow us on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
China is both a huge market for your products and a huge source of competition. Protecting your valuable innovations while doing business in China can be challenging.
We’re hosting a panel discussion on December 8 in Chicago entitled, “Doing Business in China While Protecting Your Valuable Innovations.” A panel of IP experts will share best practices for intellectual property strategy in China and discuss:
- Different types of intellectual property protection that are available today in China.
- The differences between the US and Chinese patent systems.
- Obtaining cost-effective IP protection in China, including patents, utility models, designs and trademarks.
- Issues of IP enforcement and protecting innovations from Chinese competitors.
Speaking on the panel are:
- Dr. D’vorah Graeser, US Patent Agent, Graeser Associates International Inc.
- Richard Lee, US Patent Attorney, Atlantic IP
- Ling Wu, US Patent Agent, AFD China Intellectual Property Office
- Jeff Shieh (moderator), US Patent Attorney, inovia
The event is free and will be held on December 8 from 2:00-4:30pm (networking reception to follow) at First National Plaza, 70 West Madison Street in Chicago. If you’re interested in attending, please RSVP here or send us an email.
We look forward to seeing you there!