What led you to a career in intellectual property and do you have any advice for anyone considering a similar career path?
I followed my lifelong interests and passions, which are in the areas of finance and technology, and found a way to combine the two. After a fairly broad liberal arts education that exposed me to many different areas, I started my career programming computers and pursued my interests from there. That is my advice to anyone else – explore what fascinates you and follow this through work and further education. There is truth to the old adage that if you do something you enjoy, you will never work a day in your life.
How useful are existing patent pools to the current SEP landscape and what do you think can be done to improve them?
Patent pools are one of many tools available to help monetise the value of patent rights. Combining resources and finding economies of scale are basic principles of business, and fundamentally, patent pools can help achieve those goals. Like any enterprise, the strength of the underlying assets and their management are the crucial determinants of success.
What are the biggest challenges facing your clients at present?
You cannot ignore covid-19 in answering this question. It has permanently changed how we work. Figuring out the new business landscape is and will be a challenge to us all.
Related to that is managing a workforce. People want the freedom to work where and when they want. It was quite a bit easier to be a manager when I started my career, when there was more focus on pay and work-life balance.
Training has been affected too. There has been a huge challenge welcoming the latest wave of entry-level employees into the workforce when you cannot meet them in person. We all need to learn to get better on this front, and my clients and I share this issue.
There is also today’s uncertain geopolitical climate. It is no longer clear how different regions will work together. This relates to the entire supply chain, from the creation of goods and services, to their distribution. However, there is a huge opportunity here because the tools that we have developed during the pandemic have enabled us to communicate and work together much more efficiently across countries.
What would you say are the most important steps of any asset valuation process?
I learned a long time ago to break assignments into five pieces using the acronym DGAW. Defining the assignment, gathering facts, performing analysis and communicating results (ie, writing) are general components of any asset valuation process. All five are important when you think about it this way.
If you could change one aspect of the US patent scene, what would it be – and do you think that it is likely to happen?
If I could change one aspect, it would be to clarify the rules regarding patentability, particularly in technology. I do think it will happen and is happening, largely via case law. I believe in our process, including potential legislation. It might take longer than some would like, and sometimes lack efficiency, but the process ultimately works.
Managing Director [email protected]
Chris Bakewell is a managing director at Duff & Phelps (now a Kroll business). He leads the firm’s IP advisory services practice and is the service line leader for expert services (Americas). Mr Bakewell specialises in helping clients to navigate complex economic issues by providing them with financial and valuation analyses, licensing-related consulting services, and expert testimony in the context of business disputes. His clients range from inventors and start-ups to many of the world’s leading companies.
Click here to see his IAM Patent 1000 2021 profile.