Joff Wild

After eight years in charge of Microsoft’s worldwide IP group Horacio Gutierrez is today starting a new job at the company. Following an internal reshuffle instigated by general counsel Brad Smith, Gutierrez takes charge of the Products and Services Group in the Legal & Corporate Affairs (LCA) Department, where he will be responsible for overseeing the big move the company is currently making into the cloud. He will be replaced at the Innovation and IP Group by Erich Andersen, who had led the LCA’s Business Development & Evangelism (BD&E) team.

Gutierrez has previously signaled his interest in the legal challenges raised by the cloud, both at conferences and in an article for IAM. There are a number of major IP issues involved in developing a business in this area, which is one that is clearly going to be of major importance to Microsoft and a large number of its customers over the coming years.

Andersen is a long-time member of the Microsoft legal function. As well as his time in charge of the BD&E team he has also served as the company’s general counsel in Europe and had a spell as VP and deputy general counsel of its Windows Business. IAM understands that his appointment will not signal any policy changes at Microsoft and will not curtail its many activities in the IP market. That said, Andersen may bring more of an OEM perspective to the IP group.

Gutierrez took charge of Microsoft’s IP team in 2006, having previously served as associate general counsel with responsibility for legal, regulatory and government affairs in Europe, Middle East and Africa. He was a key player as the company completely reworked its approach to IP and over recent years has overseen the development of the IP function into one of the finest corporate operations in the world.  In May Gutierrez was named by IAM as the most influential driver of the global IP market. This is why we chose him:

There are those that dabble in the IP market and others that specialise in a certain part of it. Then there is Microsoft, the company that does everything. Whether it is buying or selling patents for hundreds of millions of dollars, generating billions in Android-related licensing revenues, investing in NPEs (Intellectual Ventures), part-owning them (Rockstar) or just working with them in one way or another, Microsoft is involved in all of it. Beyond monetisation, intellectual property underpins myriad Microsoft collaborative ventures, guarantees freedom to operate and generates value in countless other ways too. The man responsible for rolling out what is undoubtedly one of the corporate world’s most sophisticated and successful IP strategies is Horacio Gutierrez. With deputies of the calibre of Micky Minhas (head of patents and patent strategy) and Nick Psyhogeos (head of licensing), there is little doubt that Gutierrez will keep Microsoft at the top of the corporate IP tree for many years to come.

Clearly, we got the final sentence slightly wrong! But whatever else he does in what is bound to continue to be a stellar career, Gutierrez can look back on his time in charge of IP at Microsoft in the surefire knowledge that he led a team which created extraordinary value for the company and its investors. He will surely (and deservedly) take a lot of pride in that. Andersen will no doubt know that he has very big shoes to fill.