Don’t be fooled by the name and believe that if you are not involved with the ‘licensing’ of intellectual property that the Licensing Executives Society (LES) is not relevant for you or your business. Anyone seeking to extract value from or trying to leverage their IP assets for the benefit of their business will find value in what LES has to offer. In general terms, the aims and activities of LES relate to the IP commercialisation, technology transfer and IP protection & exploitation spaces, and so the organisation may well be the professional society of choice for many reading this article.
LES is a global professional society of some 8000+ individual members who are active in the aforementioned and related technology and service areas. The society is made up of over 30 national societies located in more than 90 countries, including the Licensing Executives Society of Australia and New Zealand, the society that Wrays interacts with the most. As well as providing an extremely valuable platform for the sharing of knowledge and real-world experience and insight in the IP and commercialisation spaces, the international network of industry professionals, service providers and other experts associated with LES can be invaluable to many organisations and their business endeavours.
Wrays’ Principal Albert Ferraloro (the immediate LESANZ Past-President) and Senior Associate Tyson Keed (current LESANZ WA Regional Chairperson) were fortunate enough to recently attend the near sell-out 2019 LESANZ National Conference in Brisbane. As is typical of these well-organised conferences, a broad range of very topical issues were covered in the plenary sessions and related workshops, including:
- practical processes for managing and developing IP and other intangible assets
- the rise of intangible assets and commercialisation as a global activity
- simple principles to follow for successful commercialisation
- the role of government in protecting and leveraging intangible assets
- valuing IP assets for commercial transactions
- case studies of successful licensing endeavours, and
- changes to the Competition and Consumer Act relating to certain types of anticompetitive conduct.
Wrays’ Principals Judith Miller and Albert Ferraloro then attended the subsequent 2019 LES International Conference in Yokohama (Japan) which this year attracted in excess of 600 attendees from all over the world. With the conference program including numerous split stream sessions and add-on workshops, the depth of topics covered was extremely diverse and catered for all manner of interests and industry sectors. Examples of just some of the topics covered in the very full program included:
- designing your business and IP strategies to deal with global changes
- open innovation strategies to address the biggest challenges
- big data, AI and IoT and their impact on consumer products
- successful technology transfer out of universities
- global trends in patent dispute resolution
- recent IP trends in drug discovery technology
- blockchain and cryptocurrency as new tools for the digital economy
- do’s and don’ts in the protection of trade secrets and the transfer of know-how in cross border transactions
- succeeding in technology commercialisation and what decision-makers in SMEs need to know about IP, and
- global brand strategy approaches.
In terms of the mix of people attending these conferences and the depth of the LES network, this was no more evident than at the Yokohama Conference where representatives from a multitude of countries were in attendance, and included technology specialists from different industry sectors, professionals from IP and legal firms, other allied service providers, and representatives from public sector research and government organisations. As well as meeting with and reacquainting with other like-minded patent attorneys and IP lawyers from foreign associate firms, our Principals also welcomed making important new connections with other professionals in the commercialisation space including valuation experts, royalty audit specialists, expert witness organisations, IP management experts, licensing gurus and IP assertion entities.
These annual conferences are of course underpinned by a whole host of other seminars, events and workshops that are put on as part of a calendar of events by each national society, with LESANZ being no different and typically running some 25-30 events throughout Australia and New Zealand each year. Wrays is consequently a keen supporter of LES and our professionals have frequently leveraged the local and global networks, professional development & education offerings, and real business opportunities that LES involvement can bring.
So whether you are involved in R&D, marketing and distribution of products, the commercialisation of technology more generally, or deliver professional services to support these and related business areas, LES probably has something to offer you or your firm at some point of your commercialisation journey.