This week, I am using the IP Maximizer Blog to let readers know about an exciting upcoming IP Strategy event. My fellow IP Strategist, Jordan Hatcher, and his team at ipVA and colleagues at ExponentIP are working with Managing IP to provide a free webinar on IP Strategy in Europe on February 26, 2009 at 9 am EST. (I understand it is also going to be recorded.) I am very excited about this program because, as someone who advises on worldwide IP strategy, I am sure the insights provided in this webinar will elevate my knowledge and allow me to provide enhanced advice to my clients regarding IP protection in Europe.
Some might wonder why I am so looking forward to learning more about strategic IP outside of the US, so I will give some background.
By counting a number of many multi-national companies as clients in the course of my years as a patent prosecutor, I was fortunate to gain substantive experience in patent law in many foreign jurisdictions. (This is not necessarily common for US patent attorneys who tend to focus primarily on US clients or foreign clients needing US patent services to support their US operations.) Notwithstanding this experience, it always seemed difficult to know whether the non-US focused strategy I was recommending for my clients was indeed the right one because most foreign associates with whom I interacted clearly did not understand my clients’ business objectives. In truth, these foreign associates typically acted as conduits to the respective national patent offices in which they practiced. I did not expect substantive business advice from my foreign associates, nor did they expect to be asked–their job was to take my instructions and file the papers as instructed by me or my client.
On rare occasions the foreign associates did get to show their mettle by addressing a legal issue that was unique to their national laws. But, typically, they retyped my instructions into the local language, and charged me and my clients handsomely to do so. The value-add on our end to hire expensive non-US patent practitioners was that they could potentially spot the unique issues that occasionally arose to provide a further measure of legal protection for our clients. I have no doubt, however, that my clients wasted immense sums of money by not fully understanding the type of protection available in the foreign countries in which we were filing and prosecuting expensive patent applications that did not support their business objectives in that jurisdiction.
As someone who believes there is a profound need for improvements in the way that IP and patent services are provided in the US, it is affirming for me to find out that there are others outside of the US, like Jordan and his colleagues, who are also working to effect change in other countries. I look forward to collaborating with Jordan to continue to bring the model of IP Strategy to forward-thinking companies and entrepreneurs throughout the world. And, as I am sure Jordan will agree, we welcome others who wish to join us in our endeavor to reshape how people look at IP.