In April I had the opportunity to catch up with Joff Wild for a wide-ranging on the record interview. Wild is the Editor-in-Chief of the IP Division of the London-based Globe Business Media Group, which publishes Intellectual Asset Management (IAM) magazine, and also hosts the popular IP Business Congress. The next edition of the IPBC, as it is known within the industry, will be in San Francisco, California, and will take place June 10-12, 2018, at the Palace Hotel.
In part 1 our our conversation we talked about the new leadership at the United States Patent and Trademark Office, concepts of transparency both in government and in dealmaking, and more. In part 2 of our conversation we devoted our conversation nearly exclusively to developments in China. In our final installment, which appears below, we discuss the major themes that will be discussed at IPBC 2018 in San Francisco, which according to Wild will focus on how businesses can create and harness IP value.
QUINN: Well I want to pivot in our remaining time — I mean we’ve talked about a whole bunch of different things and I’m sure all these things are going to be coming up at IPBC, but if you had to put your finger on the major theme for the event this year, what is that going to be?
WILD: The overall theme at IPBC Global is all about people that believe in intellectual properties being a fundamental business asset of the 21st Century getting together and discussing the different ways in which value can be created from that IP. How do you create – how do you harness that value and how do you turn it into something that is meaningful for the people that own the intellectual property? We have sessions looking at specific industries, so we’re looking at things like semiconductors and the rise of artificial intelligence. We’re looking at how big data can be used to harness IP value. We’ve got two really interesting sessions that I’m looking forward to where we’re putting different scenarios to panels of chief IP officers and asking them how they would react to those scenarios.
For example, how to create a $100 million in value from a company’s intellectual property from scratch. Where do you start? We’ve got people like Gustav Brismark, Chief IP Officer of Ericsson, Jon Han from Qualcomm, Amar Mehta from Waymo, Phyllis Turner-Brim from Starbucks – they’ll be answering that question and be giving their perspectives on it and I think that’s going to be a really exciting way to get deep into the minds of people that are doing the IP value creation at the most senior levels in the corporate world.
One other push that I would like to make is that we have Sue Siegel who’s the chief innovation officer of GE giving another one of the keynote speeches and that’s going to be a really interesting opportunity for delegates to listen to someone who’s not from the intellectual property world talking about why the GE board believes that intellectual property is so important to GE.
You know when we do these sessions as we’ve done at previous IPBC’s it actually turns up a lot of interesting perspectives and gets people thinking in ways that they haven’t done before. So we had the CEO of Philips two or three years back telling us that there is no way that he ever wanted to see IP on the balance sheet. If you ask everyone in the IP world, they will say yes, we’d love to see that; but the Philips CEO was saying absolutely not because that tells my competitors what I’ve got and I don’t want them to know that. And so I’m hoping for those kind of perspectives from Sue Siegel when she comes in and talks to everyone.
QUINN: That’s interesting you know because one of the things that I think is a real problem with what’s going in corporate America is that IP is not on the balance sheet in any kind of what I would say logical or sensible way.
QUINN: And if it were, then I think you know shareholders would demand a lot more accountability.
WILD: I’m sure that’s absolutely right but if you’re a CEO if you start putting IP on the balance sheet that’s just another headache for you isn’t it? That’s another problem. It’s something else to add to the list and you know for you and me I think it makes complete sense, but if I’m a CEO maybe I just don’t want to have that extra headache.
QUINN: Oh yes.
WILD: It was really interesting to hear the Philips CEO say that and also to hear the audience then come back to him and tell him why they thought he was wrong and for him to say why he thought they were wrong. So it was a great back and forth and I’m hoping for a similar kind of thing with Sue Siegel. It’s that kind of insight from outside the box, from outside the IP world that I think is really interesting when we get these big industry speakers at the event.
QUINN: Yes. Yes. I mean that kind of cross pollination you never know where it’s actually going to lead, but it always tends to be very interesting.
WILD: Absolutely. That’s what makes IPBC such a great event. So you know we’ve got Mr. Iancu coming from the USPTO and Mr. Battistelli from the EPO, but we’ve also got Sue Siegel coming from outside the IP world to talk to delegates. We’ve got these CIPO scenarios where we’re kind of putting chief IP officers on the spot and asking them to explain how they would resolve certain problems. We’ve got debates. We’ve got a debate immediately after the Iancu keynote, which is “This house believes that despite recent negative developments, the U.S. remains and will continue to be the driving force of the global patent market”. So we’ve got two teams arguing for and against that proposition. Maybe Mr. Iancu will stick around to hear what they have to say!
We’ve got another debate which is looking at patent quality: “This House believes that patent quality is a distraction – all that really matters is patent eligibility”; and we’ve got teams arguing for and against that. Then on top of that we’ve got master classes on deal making in China and doing tech transfer deals with universities. So it’s not two days of sitting there listening to different panels with the same format saying the same kind of things. We’re really going to be challenging delegates and giving them a wide array of experiences over the two days – with a lot of networking thrown in on top. It’s going to be great!
QUINN: Yes. You know I am – as you know I am big fan of your events and I always think as good as the panel presentations are and they’re always very interesting, the best stuff is what happens out in the hallways. I mean because you know you pull in so many – I mean it’s a who’s who of the industry attending.
QUINN: You know and it’s really amazing and deals get done and business gets done and it’s just – it’s a great environment and a wonderful atmosphere and I look forward to being there and I appreciate you taking some time today to talk to us about it.
WILD: Well I’m grateful for the opportunity – it’s always great to see you at IPBC, Gene. I look forward to having a beer with you there and talking some more.
QUINN: Yes, no definitely and I certainly look forward to it and San Francisco is a great location to be at and The Palace Hotel is a wonderful, wonderful venue.
WILD: It sure is. Great stuff.
QUINN: All right. Well thanks a lot Joff, it was great talking to you.
WILD: And you Gene. I’ll speak to you soon. Cheers.
QUINN: Sounds good, cheers.