Monthly Archives: July 2010

IP Lawyers: Enough about Bilski Already! Instead, Start Spending Time on Things that Create Value for Your Clients

The response to Bilski demonstrates that IP Lawyers are attracted to star power just like most everyone else

Clear your calendars!  Bilski was decided just a few weeks ago, and already the schedule is filled with at least 3 Lunch and Learn seminars in the Atlanta area about “what Bilski means to your practice.”  If you can’t make these due to your Summer vacation schedule, don’t worry:  there are countless blog posts and “Urgent Practice Alerts” available, each of which reviews, abstracts and analyzes the case and its minutiae.

Come on Folks:  at the end of the day (and after 70 + obtuse pages of reading), Bilski was a very narrow ruling.  We know what it means, and very few inventors will be affected by the holding.  This means that very few attorneys should do much more than read the abstracted case, and then move on.

So, why are my IP lawyer peers spending so much time talking about a case that doesn’t matter much to our clients or practices?  Maybe it’s because the Supreme Court deigned us with their presence by hearing a patent case.  Whoo Hoo!  But, that’s like being really interested in Angelina’s new tattoo “that’s only for Brad.”  There I said it–fretting over Bilski is akin to Celebrity Stalking, IMHO.  In short, for most of us, Bilski is much ado about nothing, but we lawyers seem to think that by talking about something everyone else is talking about, we are somehow smarter and more worthy of recognition from clients and peers.

So, instead of spending time writing missives to clients that will immediately be put in the circular file or preparing for a seminar where you will demonstrate to your peers how well you can read and analyze obtuse Supreme Court cases, how about working to create value for your clients?  Instead, I suggest you spend time helping clients address an issue that will be much more likely to effect them and their business bottom line.

I have set out a few examples below, but the point is that IP lawyers need to become more relevant to business.  Spending countless hours talking about marginal issues makes us seem marginal to clients.  If we don’t become more relevant to clients in this world where business is taking a harder look at IP, we will be left behind talking about case law with each other.

Some examples of ways to create value for clients come to mind as follows:

  • Helping them monetize the patents you have charged them handsomely for over the years
  • Providing strategic advice about how they can get better patents for less money
  • Sitting down and having a heart to heart talk about their business goals and how you and your firm can help make those happen
  • Taking a business class so you can communicate better with your clients and understand their goals

If you must talk about Bilski, how about this novel idea:  pick up the phone and call your client, if just to say “don’t worry, this Bilski case is not relevant to your busiiness.”  But, you’d better not charge them for this call!

Photo: Flickr:tincanorange

IP Strategist on the Radio: 2 Recent Interviews

IP Strategist on the radio!

As my consulting practice becomes ever more busy, blogging must be relegated to times when client work is not pressing–that ever-elusive free time.  But now that Summer is here, free time has been hard to come by–it’s hard to write when at the pool with the kids or driving to Grandma’s house–but I haven’t been totally giving up my outreach.  I recently participated in 2 radio interviews where I discussed the value of IP Strategy for entrepreneurs and inventors.

Here I was on the 40 Year Old Business Virgin Radio Show with Dave Savage, Leader and President of The Inventors Association of Georgia and a person named Mohamed who has a really cool entrepreneurial story (sorry I didn’t get his last name).  The hosts of the show, Kile Lewis and Ted Jenkin, are irreverent business advisors, and you should enjoy the show.  (I appear in the first half).   They also made a short follow-up You Tube video (I had no idea I would appear on video and dressed totally inappropriately, but–oh well).

I also appeared with Dave Savage on the Community Perspectives Radio Show (link here:  IAG Interview–opens to then your media player), along with Narayanan Subramanian.  In this show, we talked about the Inventor’s Association of Georgia and its value to entrepreneurs and inventors.  Dave had some very smart things to say about the difference between the two, and this is worth a listen, if just for that piece.

I hope you enjoy these interviews.  Lots of substantive blog posts are running around in my head, and I look forward to sitting down before the computer soon–maybe from the beach in Florida!