Sharon Ho

What aspects of your work do you enjoy most, and why?

An aspect of my work that I enjoy very much is interacting with our member companies – SMEs in the cleantech space – and learning about their technologies. Many interesting innovations that are happening in Canada right now have the potential to help address the major environmental challenges that the world is facing.

It is also rewarding to see the progression in some of our members when it comes to intellectual property. Many started with only basic knowledge and are gaining a deeper understanding and appreciation of its business value and the importance of having a strong IP strategy.

I also enjoy the work that I do around building Canada’s first-ever government-funded patent portfolio to help strengthen the IP ownership position of our member companies to help increase their freedom to operate.

As the effects of the climate crisis become more apparent – and are particularly visible in Canada – what impact are you seeing on the development of cleantech and sustainable solutions?

I am noticing more technologies that target a specific or immediate climate problem. Examples include:

  • technologies to address forest fires because they are more prevalent than they were 10 years ago;
  • compostable materials to replace single-use plastics; and
  • innovations around batteries for electric vehicles.

There is also a rise in innovations around carbon reduction and carbon capture as emissions regulations become more stringent around the world.

How do you manage expectations and maintain close working relationships with member companies when the stakes are so high?

Active listening is key to understanding members’ real business needs. My job is to ensure that IAC’s services and suggestions make sense in view of their business objectives and the size and stage of the company.

What metrics do you use to measure the success of an IP commercialisation strategy?

Intellectual property is not just about protecting ideas and inventions. It is vital to understand and appreciate that IP assets are business assets, and their true value lies in how they are leveraged to drive differentiation in the marketplace. In an effective IP commercialisation strategy, the company’s intellectual property is used to generate revenue from licensing it or selling products or services based on it. Other key metrics include a high rate of market adoption and expansion, an increase in partnerships or collaborations with other organisations to use the intellectual property to access new markets, growth of brand recognition in the marketplace and the size of the IP portfolio (which indicates that the company is continuously doing R&D and/or identifying new revenue sources) and an increase in interest from prospective investors and buyers in the business. However, the cost of protecting, maintaining and enforcing intellectual property should be proportional to the revenue generated or to be generated. Otherwise, the business will be weighed down by IP costs and will not be profitable.

Sharon Ho

Legal counsel
[email protected]

Sharon Ho is the legal counsel at Innovation Asset Collective, a membership-based not-for-profit organisation, and is also a Canadian patent and trademark agent. Ms Ho leverages her knowledge and experience to assist member companies with IP strategy and helped to build Canada’s first government-funded patent portfolio. She holds a BASc in engineering and physics from the University of British Columbia and a JD from Queen’s University, both in Canada.

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