Wherever you sit within the IP ecosystem, the last year has been a period of unprecedented uncertainty. Yet for corporates, research organisations, law firms and service providers, it is times such as these that reward the teams that are creative, cohesive and, crucially, well managed.

In this special report, IAM sets out to identify some of the most dynamic executives in different parts of our industry and ask them for their insights into how they formulate innovative long-term strategies, win support internally and externally, attract and manage diverse, talented groups and deal with adversity.

The report also includes IAM’s annual list of the top 40 IP Market Makers – the individuals driving the transactions market atop some of the most lucrative patent-based businesses. For the first time, we have complemented the ranking with a companion list, which recognises the most influential IP heads from the life sciences space – it is a vastly different playing field, but one that richly rewards innovative business models.

Veteran IP journalist Harry Rijnen profiles five top in-house executives, quizzing them about their rise to the top and the lessons on leadership that they have learned along the way, while other stand-out individuals share their thoughts directly on everything from how to enhance diversity among innovators to the need to balance different competencies within a team.

Leadership is just as important in the private practice space but running a law firm or patent attorney firm comes with its own set of challenges. In a roundtable of managing partners and heads of intellectual property from the most highly decorated businesses in the IAM Patent 1000, we learn about rapid changes in the legal landscape and why partnerships need to adapt to these.

Finally, we have taken the opportunity to ask the three 2021 living inductees into the IP Hall of Fame – former USPTO director Andrei Iancu, RPX CEO Dan McCurdy and Lenovo chief legal officer Laura Quatela – to reflect on their journeys to the pinnacle of the IP profession.

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