Just a reminder, these posts are not legal advice. This site is the personal blog of Mark Radcliffe and the opinions expressed are those of Mark Radcliffe and not those of his clients, DLA Piper or the clients of DLA Piper.

About Me:

Mark Radcliffe

I have been practicing law in Silicon Valley for over thirty years assisting startups and global companies develop and market innovative products and services. I have participated in multiple business cyles in Silicon Valley from hardware to software to internet to cloud. My projects have included developing the dual licensing business model for open source startup, developing the original domain dispute resolution policy for NSI and assisting Sun in open sourcing the Solaris operating system. Recently, I served on the US Japan Innovation and Entrepreneurship Council (one of ten members) to develop a plan to encourage the innovation in Japan and the United States. I have been working with the same attorneys since 1986 although we have merged with other law firms several times. I am now a partner at DLA Piper, a (relatively) new global law firm formed in 2005 from the merger of three law firms. The firm now has 4200 lawyers in 31 countries and 77 cities. My experience in corporate securities (particularly venture capital) and intellectual property enables me to assist companies structure the financing and intellectual property strategy for developing ane exploiting a new product or service. I and my team work with fifty startups at one time as well as Global Fortune 100. I have been fortunate enough to work with companies in software, cloud computing, semiconductor, health care IT and Web 2.0.

The recent Intellectual Property Business Congress in San Francisco was very interesting and demonstrated the increasing importance of intellectual property of business The speakers ranged from Judge Rader (Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals of the Federal Circuit) to Ruud Peters (Chief Innovation Officers of Philips NV).   Many speakers emphasized the critical nature of intellectual property in developing products because most new products are the result of collaboration among many parties.  The rise of the need for collaboration in developing products ranges across all industries, from smartphones to automobiles.

Smartphones are a dramatic example of collaboration: the bill of materials for the iPhone shows that Apple only provides the operating system for the device.  Android represents another step in this evolution where even the operating system is provided by a third party. The disruptive nature of these new reality is demonstrated by the dramatic fall of Nokia’s market share in smartphones (I discussed these issues in more detail in my presentation on the new rules of innovation at the IBF Corporate Venture and Innovation conference in February 

At the conference, Frank MacKenzie, IP Counsel from Ford Global Technologies, stated directly that intellectual property at Ford has a much higher profile.  He described how the automobile industry has changed dramatically recently because of the integration of a much greater  amount of third party technology into new cars; he mentioned Sync and Mytouch as technologies which Ford has licensed from third parties. Even in the traditional automobile business, he noted that intellectual property is very important: he described how the sale of Volvo was initially viewed as the transfer of “hard” assets and a brand, but it became clear during the negotiations that intellectual property relating to the car manufacturing was a critical element of the deal for the buyer.

The most interesting presentation was by Ruud Peters, the Chief Innovation Officer of Philips NV, who described that evolution of the integration of intellectual property into business at Philips over the last twelve years.  At the beginning,   intellectual property was viewed as a “defensive” asset, but intellectual property is now a key part of all business strategies developed at Philips.  His summary of the new attitude was:  “Business strategy without an IP strategy is not a business strategy”.