Derek Minihane

Vice President, Sound Processors and Clinical Care at Cochlear Ltd

Derek Minihane has a unique perspective on the commercialisation of intellectual property from strategy creation to product commercialisation, based on more than 20 years’ experience running various aspects of research and product development programmes, business development activities and traditional IP functions. In Australia, Mr Minihane continues to build on his extensive executive management experience from Silicon Valley, California. In addition to his role at Cochlear, Mr Minihane offers advice to companies through participation on advisory boards and councils to help companies define and implement IP strategies aligned with their business goals.

Mr Minihane runs various aspects of the R&D portfolio at Cochlear Limited. He leads the product development teams for sound processor design and customer and clinical software, including mobile and cloud solutions, by setting the strategy and ensuring delivery to plan. He drives major in-licensing activities within the company, including managing key technology collaborations.

He is also responsible for IP strategy and continues to advise the company on all aspects of IP management, including research agreements, confidential information, risk management and patent litigation.

Previously, Mr Minihane directed the long-term research programme by setting the direction and ensuring delivery of research outcomes and new technologies to capture future opportunities. He effectively promoted and used an open innovation-driven programme to ensure access to the best ideas and an effective way to gain quick feedback on internal concepts.

Mr Minihane was vice president of intellectual property at Intermolecular, Inc, where he helped develop the business model and negotiate several large collaborations that supported a successful initial public offering. Before that, he ran the IP function for Altera Corporation (now part of Intel) and gained significant IP expertise at various law firms.

Mr Minihane holds a BS in electrical engineering from Cornell University and a JD from George Washington University. He is a practising US patent attorney and regularly speaks at IP and licensing conferences worldwide.

Professional associations

  • AusMedTech
  • State Bars of California, New York and Massachusetts


  • Electronics
  • Medical devices
  • Semiconductors
  • Software

Firm details

Cochlear Ltd
Sydney NSW

Contact details