Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Marshall Phelps Speaks at Annual LES Meeting

The Licensing Executive Society (LES) is holding their annual meeting in Vancouver this week, and yesterday, Marshall Phelps, senior vice president of intellectual property at Microsoft, had some interesting things to say:

• High tech CEOs are failing to manage their companies' IP portfolios properly - instead of focusing on selling patents for revenue, companies should instead focus on building collaborative relationships.

• During Phelp's tenure at IBM, he developed a portfolio of 35,000 patents, which generated more than $1B in revenue - at Microsoft, the portfolio expanded to 19,000 (and further expanding at about 3k applications a year), but generate less than $100M in revenue.

• "The vast majority of companies can not do what IBM did nor should they even try. . . I'm suggesting we broaden our view. The world has changed and mutually beneficial relationships will count for more than money."

• "Licensing will probably become no more than a half to one percent of Microsoft's revenues . . . As for open source, it is here to stay and my job is to find ways to work with it because most of our customers use heterogeneous systems" (Microsoft has struck six deals with open source companies in recent times).

Read article from the EE Times "CEOs neglect patent portfolios, says M'soft exec" (link)

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