Paul Stewart

Paul Stewart

What led you to a career in intellectual property and what kind of person have you seen succeeding as an IP dealmaker in this complex global marketplace?

I happened into licencing accidentally during my first job assignment at Eli Lilly and Company in the late 1980s. The business unit needed to work on its first deal in several years, but there was not yet a separate licencing department. My boss asked me to lead the matter, so I teamed up with one of our in-house attorneys to negotiate the deal, and then prepare and finalise an agreement that was ultimately signed.

People who succeed in tech transfer demonstrate great flexibility, a natural curiosity for things new, obsessive attention to detail – a misplaced comma can matter! – and a mixture of persistence and patience to obtain a deal that is acceptable to all parties involved.

Which of your clients is the most memorable and why?

While at Lilly I sat across the negotiating table with an incredibly prolific inventor – a named inventor on over 100 US patents who has contributed to the development of more than a dozen new drugs. When I retired from Lilly, this gentleman asked me to join him on his side of the negotiating table and I am still doing new deals and consulting on his behalf over 10 years later! His most recent drug candidate molecule may become the world’s first-ever non-steroidal treatment for various inflammatory diseases and is now in Phase II human clinical studies. I personally believe that this drug, when approved, will help millions of patients.

What is one of the biggest challenges facing the IP ecosystem right now – and how are you helping to address this?

Sadly, I have observed in recent years so-called “efficient infringement” by large companies – let us call them “BigCos”. Even after friendly contacts to confirm that they are aware of their infringement and to attempt to resolve the issues amicably, the BigCos continue to thumb their noses at inventors. This then requires drawn-out litigation even though the BigCos ultimately lose or settle out of court at the last minute. Perhaps these BigCos have already brought on themselves at least some of the increased patent litigation from NPEs, because smaller firms and individual inventors have turned to the greater financial resources of NPEs to help them try to level the playing field against the BigCo Goliaths.

To my fellow licensing professionals at the executive level – do not let your BigCo get away with these unethical behaviours. As to how I am helping to address this challenge, I am hopeful that mentioning it here will increase awareness with younger dealmakers that they need to help lead the change by stopping any efficient infringement that could materially impair the reputational value of their own companies, as well as damage their own professional reputations.

What aspect of your work do you find most fulfilling – and why?

I have the privilege of working with some of the world’s best and brightest inventors who are improving the lives of millions of people worldwide. My company motto is “doing deals that help make our world a better place to live” and I am proud of the small role that I play in helping to get innovations to the marketplace.

Tell us about your just-issued US patent and any advice you have for would-be inventors?

I have spent 35+ years working with inventors, but never pictured myself as an inventor. That changed a few years ago when I was riding on a ski lift at Telluride, looking down at the snow-covered roofs. Thinking differently about those snow-covered roofs was the creative spark for my US Patent 11,411,531 (“Cleaning Method for Solar Panels”), which issued on 9 August 2022. The novel aspect of my patent involves the incremental and sequential cleaning of solar panels, with potential of up to 13% more incremental generation of solar energy. I am just now at the beginning of the journey I have coached inventors through. So far it has been fascinating to experience this from the inventor’s point of view – I am now much more appreciative of the struggles faced by my clients. My advice for inventors is to seek advice from trusted patent counsel who can guide you through the process of not only getting a patent issued, but artfully crafting the abstract, description and patent claims so you have freedom to operate and freedom to block.

Paul Stewart

Founder and Managing Director
[email protected]

Paul Stewart is past president and chair of the board of the Certified Licencing Professionals and a graduate of Purdue University and Harvard Business School. Following 25 years at Eli Lilly and Company, he formed PASCO Ventures LLC to help a select group of clients with complex global licensing matters. Mr Stewart has struck deals on every continent except Antarctica, and has been in 44 countries and in 51 of 52 US states and territories.

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