Many readers will know that IPWatchdog, Inc. is run by partners in marriage and business, Founder and CEO Gene Quinn and Chief Operating Officer Renée Quinn. But fewer may know the story behind the couple, or how and why Renée chose to make the obscure world of intellectual property—a term she knew very little about prior to meeting Gene—her own.
It was 2002, and Renée was a single mother, living in the Collegeville, Pennsylvania area, working full time and attending graduate school. With a six-year old son—Joseph Compasso (pictured left, center)—to care for, dating was difficult, so she made the (bold for the time) decision to join Yahoo! Personals and Match.com. Gene was temporarily teaching law at Temple, University in Philadelphia and didn’t know many people in the area, so had also joined Yahoo! Personals. He soon picked out Renée’s profile and they began chatting habitually.
Their online chats quickly moved to phone calls and laborious, 2002 texts, until one night, after an extended conversation, Renée suggested that Gene just come over. She didn’t have to ask twice—he quickly made the hour’s drive and they met in person for the first time. They hit it off right away and talked for hours.
Their first official date was Outback Steakhouse. They ate and continued their conversation well after they had finished dinner. “I thought it was going really well,” says Gene. “When the date was over, I walked her to the car and, not that I expected a big wet kiss, but she gave me the Heisman; she reached her hand out as far as she could away from her body to shake mine and said, ‘Thanks’. So, I thought, ‘She’s not that into me.’ I had a very long ride home.”
Upon arriving home, however, Gene found an email from Renee. She had had a great time and wanted to do it again. Perplexed but rejuvenated, Gene replied in kind and they were soon an item. (Renée claims she “just felt odd” about the goodbye, but Gene remains convinced it was about his hair. “I had longer, thick hair then, and I used grease to slick it back—she didn’t like that look.”)
Intro to IP
By Christmas of 2002, Gene moved in with Renée and Joseph. He had launched IPWatchdog.com just over three years earlier as a static website and was doing a weekly newsletter in which he summarized every IP case he could find. “Renée came up to me one day and asked, skeptically, ‘So what is this that you do all day?’” Gene put on his patent law professor hat, and Renée was thus introduced to IP.
The Partnership Begins
Gene and Renee moved to Syracuse, NY, in July of 2004. It was there, on the steps of their first home, that Gene proposed to Renée on July 3, 2005. They were married on September 9, 2006, in Cicero, New York at the Lakeshore Yacht and Country Club on Oneida Lake and have been living and working together full time since moving to Virginia in 2008.
While Renée didn’t initially intend to take on IPWatchdog as her full-time career, when the business began to take off in 2010/ 2011, Gene needed help and she began to take some of the work off his hands. “We realized that we both have different strengths and when we work together, we balance each other out,” Renée says. The Invent + Patent System™ is just one result of the couple’s teamwork at its best. The two also conduct all IPWatchdog webinars and live and online courses together.
When asked how the couple handles juggling shared careers and marriage, Renée says, “Boy, that took a while.” She adds: “Gene jokes that when he realized I was really the boss, it got better. He likes to say that he’s the talent, and I monetize the talent.” The real secret is revealed later in the conversation though, when she remarks, “We have a great time together.”
More than ten years in, Renée has also found her niche in the IP community. “I used to say, ‘it’s not my field,’ but it is now. I’ve been so proud to watch Gene grow in this business, and I am so proud to be on the journey with him” she says. As she has become steeped in the IP world, it’s not only her love for Gene that has grown. “The people I’ve met in this community are so great and so easy to talk to; I just love it.”
Happy Valentine’s Day from the IPWatchdog team!