We sat down with Ralph Schroeder, President (North America) at RightHub, and asked him about his journey into working with IP, and today's main challenges behind managing IP.
RH: How did you get into working with IP?
RS: Like many of us who have worked in intellectual property for a while, I came to IP in an indirect way. My undergraduate studies were in biochemistry, and I had no idea of becoming an attorney or working in intellectual property. At the time, in the early 90’s, the term ‘intellectual property management” had not been coined and IP had not yet become a significant industry. On the advice of a colleague, I decided to go to law school, during which I discovered my interest in IP and technology law. I attended law school in Chicago, which ended up being the epicenter for the development of Intellectual Asset Management best practices.
My transition from legal practice to the business of IP began in 1996, when I had the idea that companies could benefit from ‘auditing’ their IP assets. I formed a small consultancy called—not too creatively—Intellectual Property Management, Inc., which was the catalyst for me joining, and helping found and build, PwC’s first Intellectual Asset Management consulting practice. Our practice grew to over 500 consultants, working with innovator companies in IP strategy, portfolio development, and transactions. While at PwC I was fortunate to work with a number of pioneers both as colleagues and clients. It was really an extraordinary time in the development of IP globally. I was lucky to be in the right place at the right time.
From PwC, my journey in IP has included founder and leadership roles with Delphion, Dennemeyer, Anaqua, and Hyperion Research, before ultimately starting Helios IP, as the industry’s first managed IP operations service. Our combination with RightHub represents a culmination of my career experiences, and the next step in transforming the IP industry.
RH: In your experience what are the top three challenges Innovators and Brand Owners face in managing Intellectual Property?
RS: As both a legal right and highly valuable business asset, intellectual property is complex and multi-faceted. The first challenge many Innovators and Brand Owners face is getting clear visibility and understanding of their portfolios. The ability to correlate—and then communicate to key stakeholders—how intellectual property delivers business value is fundamentally important, yet very difficult. We spend a lot of time helping clients achieve these insights.
Another important challenge relates to IP investments, and understanding where and how to best develop and maintain IP rights. Budget and costs savings are important, but for core innovation and brand protection the more important considerations are focused on ensuring adequate spending optimize intellectual property. Companies do not like to waste money, but they understand the importance of investing in quality IP that delivers value to the business.
A final challenge is understanding the future direction of IP management across the spectrum, from global protection strategies to efficient IP operations. A myriad of changes such as IP laws and practices, the impact of emerging technologies, and operational support systems are but a few of the critically important areas that IP leaders must consider as they build, maintain, and deploy their IP assets.
RH: How do you see RightHub supporting Innovators and Brand Owners in these challenges?
RS In my experience, the most successful Innovators and Brand Owners excel in two critical areas: information and resources. Firstly, they have a keen ability to gather and analyze information across the intellectual property process, which is crucial for informed decision-making. Secondly, they build IP specialist teams that are capable of executing strategies and delivering results. These two elements work together seamlessly, forming the cornerstone of effective IP management.
RightHub is focused on helping Innovator and Brand Owners achieve success. As the first solution provider to unify leading technology and data within a collaborative, open platform, RightHub empowers all stakeholders across the IP lifecycle to work seamlessly together, fundamentally reimagining their IP management.
Feel free to contact Ralph to talk about our services by clicking here.