Joff Wild

On Tuesday law firm Shook, Hardy & Bacon announced they had recruited long-time Microsoft chief patent counsel Bart Eppenauer to oversee the opening of their new Seattle office. Horacio Gutierrez, Corporate Vice President and Deputy General Counsel of Microsoft's Innovation and Intellectual Property Groups, has now made three appointments in the wake of Eppenauer’s departure:

• Micky Minhas is to lead a newly combined patent group and patent strategy group. Minhas had been associate general counsel of patent strategy at Microsoft since 2012. Before joining the company he had served for 13 years as vice president for Qualcomm Incorporated, where he worked on IP strategy and also ran its European opposition practice and R&D patent prosecution team.

• Nick Psyhogeos will run Microsoft’s IP licensing, including the company’s Android licensing programme. He has been with the company for 15 years and most recently served as vice president of its original equipment manufacturer (OEM) business solutions group where he managed licensing, programmes and policies with the company’s OEM partners globally.

• Jule Sigall, previously in charge of Microsoft’s copyright and trade secrets group, has taken over leadership of the IP policy and strategy team. Before joining Microsoft, Sigall served as Associate Register for Policy & International Affairs at the US Copyright Office, where he led the division responsible for providing domestic and international copyright policy advice to both the legislative and executive branches of the US government.

Earlier this week, one analyst garnered a lot of headlines by claiming that Microsoft might make up to $2 billion a year just from licensing Android-related IP. In fact, as this blog has discussed, the figure may even be higher – we don’t know because Microsoft won’t say. What we do know, however, is that the company has few equals when it comes to IP value creation: it sets the standards for others to follow. “The Innovation and Intellectual Property Groups benefit greatly from a talented and diverse group of people, and I am pleased to be able to elevate the strong leadership and innovative thinking that Micky, Nick and Jule will bring to their new roles.  At the same time, I am immensely thankful to Bart for his tremendous contributions to Microsoft as he returns to his law firm roots," Gutierrez said today.