Making sure it’s win-win: the IP issues when large and small firms join forces

The fourth Strategic Intellectual Property Forum, a half-day seminar designed to help companies better understand innovation and IP management, will take place next Thursday (1 December) at the University of Cambridge’s Institute for Manufacturing (IfM). IP experts will share their knowledge on this Forum’s theme: Small meets large – IP challenges.

Add This Share Buttons

Small, highly innovative firms are often keen to build their business by developing partnerships with larger companies. But the smaller firms don’t have the same resources as their larger partners to protect and exert their formal IP rights, such as patents. Four speakers with deep experience in this field will consider the IP challenges these kinds of collaborations can present. They will talk about common pitfalls and how to avoid them and how both large and small companies can develop IP strategies that will work for them.

  • Jo Costura is Caterpillar’s Intellectual Property Transaction and Licensing Manager for Europe, Africa and the Middle East. She will talk about how Caterpillar collaborates with small firms and the lessons it has learnt from past experiences.
  • Donal O’Connell is the Managing Director of Chawton Innovation Services Ltd, an IP consultancy and IP software solutions business. Previously, he was Vice-President of R&D and Director of IP at Nokia. Donal will talk about the particular challenge of sharing trade secrets in collaborations.
  • John Nevard is the Director of IP at Cambridge Display Technology a member of the Sumitomo Chemical group of companies.  CDT has led the development of technologies based on polymer light emitting diodes (P-OLEDs) and has now a new remit, as Sumitomo Chemical’s European Research Centre, to identify and incubate new technologies and businesses for its parent company.  John will talk about managing IP in the David vs Goliath environment.
  • Michael Evans, CEO, Cambridge Carbon Capture is a serial entrepreneur and innovator dedicated to finding technological and commercial solutions to tackling climate change. He will talk about his views regarding the real role of IP in starting a business.

This will be the fourth Strategic Intellectual Property Forum, jointly run by the IfM and Cambridge-based intellectual property firm AvidityIP to help companies in the Cambridge area and beyond better understand and exploit their IP on a commercial and strategic basis.

Dr. Frank Tietze, lecturer at the IfM and a prime mover in the SIPF initiative, said: “This topic is very relevant for Cambridge with its vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem. Start-ups and small companies need the resources and market reach of larger organisations – and big companies need the innovation, flair and agility of their smaller counterparts. But if these partnerships are to flourish in the longer term the IP implications need to be fully understood by all parties and must be mutually beneficial.”

Adrian Howson is CTO of Avidity IP where he heads up a group providing supplementary business and innovation services to support Avidity’s clients and attorneys alike. “We co-founded the Strategic IP Forum with a vision to offer an open-source environment for professionals with an interest in IP as a place to come together and learn from each other’s experience and challenges. Building or acquiring IP assets is an expensive and lengthy process which makes it vitally important to know how to leverage these IP assets in order to extract their maximum value.”

The event is for decision-makers and IP managers in businesses of all sizes, with VPs of Technology, Heads of IP and Licensing Executives already registered. Attendance is free of charge, although pre-event registration is required.

Event Date – 1.00–6.00 pm, 1 December 2016
Event Venue - Institute for Manufacturing, Alan Reece Building, 17 Charles Babbage Road Cambridge, CB3 OFS
Map (Link) -
Detailed Event Information (Link) -
Event Registration -
About the IfM and Centre for Technology Management

About Avidity IP –

Event Programme:

13:00 Registration and refreshments
13:30 Introduction to the day: Frank Tietze, Centre for Technology Management, IfM and Adrian Howson, AvidityIP
13:45 Welcome to the IfM, Open Innovation and IP: Tim Minshall, Head, Centre for Technology Management, IfM
14:00 David vs Goliath: John Nevard, Director of IP, Cambridge Display Technology
14:30 Moving forward together in R&D - collaboration between large industrials and smaller tech companies – an IP view from Caterpillar: Jo Costura, Intellectual Property Transaction and Technology Licensing Manager EAME, Caterpillar
15:00 Refreshments and Wall of Ideas
15:30 An entrepreneur’s view of the real role of IP in starting a business: Michael Evans, CEO, Cambridge Carbon Capture
16:00 Sharing trade secrets with others: Donal O’Connell, former VP of R&D and Director of IP, Nokia
16:30 Refreshments
16:40 Why Do Companies Pledge Their Patents?: Panel Discussion
17:10 Wrap-up and next steps for SIPF: Frank Tietze, Centre for Technology Management, IfM and Adrian Howson, AvidityIP 


Looking for something specific?