What has been your proudest professional achievement to date, and why?
One of my most significant professional accomplishments to date has been the ability to generate substantial wealth and then distribute most of it back to causes I believe in. This cycle of earning and giving is not just about the financial aspect for me. Instead, it is the thrill of the chase, the pursuit of success and the satisfaction of making a difference that truly fuels my passion.
At the start of this year, IPwe officially launched its Smart Intangible Asset Management (SIAM) platform in Davos, Switzerland. How does this bridge the gap between finance and intellectual property?
In January 2023, IPwe made a significant stride in the IP space by launching our SIAM solution in Davos, Switzerland. SIAM serves as a bridge between finance and intellectual property, addressing a critical communication gap. It is not the responsibility of finance professionals to become fluent in intellectual property; rather, it is incumbent upon IP experts to learn to speak to finance people about intellectual property, and SIAM provides a starting point for this essential dialogue.
What are the biggest challenges facing your customers at present, and what advice are you giving to them to help them overcome these?
Our customers currently face a significant challenge in managing their intangible assets. While senior executives understand the importance of these, they often struggle with how to effectively implement management strategies. The first step in overcoming this hurdle is acknowledging that their current management practices may be inadequate. From there, they can begin to explore more effective methods and strategies to optimise the value of their intangible assets.
As more and more industries are affected by technological convergence, what considerations should patent owners bear in mind when assessing their existing IP strategies?
As technological convergence continues to impact various industries, patent owners must reassess their existing IP strategies. First, what is your strategy? If the answer is expanding commercial opportunity or similar, you are probably on to a good strategy. If the answer is defensive purposes, to increase the number of patents owned, or simply uncertain, then you might want to hit the pause button and rethink. Those historical strategies are likely only suitable for a very small group of companies and industries, given the rapidly evolving technological landscape.
You are credited as being one of the people who changed the way people think about and use patents. What was the secret to this approach?
My approach to changing the way people think about and use patents was not based on a secret formula: it was a process of listening, studying, thinking and daring to try something new. The goal was to navigate uncharted waters, which I have found far more rewarding than the familiar, crowded spaces. This approach allowed for the exploration of innovative ways to leverage patents, transforming them from static assets into dynamic opportunities for growth, collaboration, innovation and value.
Erich Spangenberg is a serial entrepreneur and industry luminary in the patent business and a pioneer and leader in patent monetisation, generating over half a billion dollars in licensing, settlement or enforcement revenues. He is also a former investment banker (Donaldson, Lufkin, and Jenrette) and corporate lawyer (partner at Jones Day).