An interview with Raymond Millien, Vice President & Chief Intellectual Property Counsel of Volvo Car Corporation.
To successfully monetize IP, you have to look back to what you filed in previous years. Those are the assets that are readily available to monetize,” recommends Raymond Millien, Vice President & Chief Intellectual Property Counsel, Volvo Car Corporation.
Millien is the Chairperson at the marcus evans IP Law Summit Fall 2018 taking place in Orlando, Florida, September 13-15.
How is the legal/IP climate in the US changing? What lessons have you learned and what advice do you have for IP Counsel in all industries?
There is no doubt that we are in a period where there is some hostility to patents and thus, to patent value. That said, I think this fact reinforces the notion that in the current climate long gone are the days that IP Counsel set patent filing targets in Q4 and did all they can to simply meet those numbers the following year. There now has to be a focus on IP strategy. And, that strategy has to be more than a PowerPoint® presentation that sits on a laptop. It has to be a real, living document that addresses an enterprise’s actual technology roadmap and does not simply focus on patent filing targets.
How can the IP group transform from a cost to a profit center? What areas should IP Counsel focus on to generate profit?
That is always the million-dollar question! People have been using that since Kevin Rivette’s “Rembrandts in the Attic” was published in 2000. While many have used the phrase, few know how to do it, and even fewer have achieved it. I think the reason being is again the annual patent-filing-target exercise that most IP departments focus on. If that is your sole measure of success (especially personal success for in-house IP counsels’ bonuses and raises) then you spend the entire year’s time and efforts looking ahead to meeting that target. To successfully monetize IP, you have to look back to what you filed in previous years. Those are the assets that are readily available to monetize.
What are your top strategies for strengthening a company’s IP portfolio?
Well, that should be a trade secret. But seriously, I think the most important strategy is internal education (i.e. “IP Awareness” training). Without building a culture of IP into an organization, the best IP will not only go uncaptured, it will walk out of the door.
What does it really take to “win” the IP game?
It takes a holistic vision of IP (not just patents) within the context of an enterprise’s business strategy (and thus technical roadmap). Once that vision is attained, then it becomes all about ensuring that you have the right personnel and infrastructure in place to capture it, protect it in the right manner and then putting yourself in position to monetize it.
Lastly, you have to devote resources to analyzing your portfolio. If such activities are not budgeted for, every dollar you spend is over budget!
About the IP Law Summit Fall 2018
The IP Law Summit is the premium forum for bringing Senior IP Counsel within large and mid-market organizations together with service providers. The Summit offers an intimate environment for a focused discussion of cutting-edge technology, strategy and products driving the IP marketplace. Taking place at Omni Orlando Resort at Championsgate, Orlando, Florida, September 13-15, the Summit includes presentations on protecting brands online, establishing a responsive IP portfolio and department that is aligned to value creation and corporate strategy, and licensing best practices.
For more information, please contact: Sarin Kouyoumdjian-Gurunlian