The 2011-2012 Society year witnessed significant transformational growth for LESI as an organization. A short report of the major initiatives completed through the hard work of the LESI Board, its Committees and National Socieites follows.
#1: Formation of the LES National Presidents' Council
As an umbrella organization, LESI exists to serve the needs of its 32 local Societies. In many respects, the best thing LESI can do is to facilitate communication between the leadership of the local Socieites and then get out of the way! The National Presidents' Council (NPC) has quickly become a vehicle for these efforts. Peter Hess, Arnaud Michel and Francois Painchaud have led three primary meetings of the NPC in its first year. These sessions focused on best practice sharing for LES local Society governance, administration and communication to individual members.
The National President's Council is now operating independent of the LESI Board, exactly as hoped. We have more fully engaged the network of current LES Society Presidents, but exictingly, we have also brought back to the LES campfire many, many of our former National Presidents.
#2: Creation of the LESI Global Technology Impact Forum and Invent for Humanity Technology Transfer Exchange Fair
The LESI 2012 Global Technology Impact Forum (GTIF) and concurrent Invent For Humanity™ Technology Transfer Exchange Fair represented our first dedicated outward effort to establish structured multiparty dialogue amongst peer organizations and, in a related effort, facilitate dialogue and networking regarding humanitarian technology transfer. This discussion continued at the LESI Annual Conference in New Zealand which was themed ‘Commercialising Innovation to Save the World'. We are not alone in this shift as the US PTO recently announced the Patents for Humanity pilot program that rewards patent owners for using their patented technology to address humanitarian needs. We are looking for input from you regarding this important topic and the specifical training and networking activities that further your company's own initiatives in this regard.
GTIF was held in place of a traditional local Society conference following the Board's winter planning meeting. Organized by the LESI Board, GTIF was a peer-to-peer, Board-to-Board gathering of more than 25 global non-profit and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) dedicated in part to the business of licensing. The mission of GTIF is to coordinate and communicate the efforts of leading organizations ‘advancing the business of intellectual property globally'. Amongst the more than 25 organizations which attended, four agreed to work with LESI as a strategic partner for the event – WIPO, WTO, ICC and the Center for Applied Innovation.
GTIF 2012 provided an overview of critical IP licensing and technology transfer issues as seen by the participants, fostering unique organizational networking among senior leadership of participating organizations. Throughout the year, this community continued to advance evergreen objectives set during the Forum. Participating organizations are expected to use this unique organizational networking and collaboration opportunity to move forward a consensus agenda addressing major IP licensing and technology transfer concerns. Such efforts may in the future include the commitment of joint resources from all or a subset of those who attended. Although similar forums have been created for more general economic questions, the LESI GTIF represents a first for the broader technology transfer community. For more information regarding GTIF 2012, please visit: GTIForum.org, follow @GTIForum on Twitter, or find these activities on LinkedIn, YouTube, Flickr, SlideShare, or Scribd.
Concurrent with GTIF, LESI organized the inaugural Invent for Humanity™ Technology Transfer Exchange Fair, showcasing field-ready sustainable innovations, known as ‘Appropriate Technology', and leveraging the experience of licensing professionals to structure the actual transfer of such technology to meet recognized needs of emerging market economies. The continued mission for Invent for Humanity is to:
- Expose technology needs and solutions to the senior leadership of participating organizations at the GTIF; and
- Facilitate the practical transfer of Appropriate Technology to developing countries by utilizing Center for Applied Innovation Fellows as well as IP and licensing professionals. LESI has the support of the Board of Certified Licensing Professionals, LLC to solicit probono support from CLPs for such efforts.
The Invent for Humanity Technology Transfer Exchange Fair was a first-ever event bringing together a renowned collection of technology leaders capturing the attention of IP and general news media. We welome your support to reach out to relevant organizations in your local Society for a repeat of this program in January of 2013. For more about the Invent for Humanity™ Technology Transfer Exchange Fair, visit InventforHumanity.org, follow @Invent4Humanity on Twitter, or find it on Facebook, YouTube, Vimeo, Flickr, Jumo, CauseCast, or Scribd.
Time will determine if the LESI Global Technology Impact Forum and related Invent For Humanity™ Technology Transfer Exchange Fair will become a permanent part of the LES calendar. However, the first GTIF session has already made a strong and long lasting positive impression regarding LES and its voice in the global technology transfer community. GTIF was the result of endless hours from too many volunteers to mention. Thank you in particular to Kevin Nachtrab as incoming President as well as Hector Chagoya and Martin Schneider as incoming Co-Chairs for continuing GTIF in Geneva, Switzerland on January 20-22, 2013.
#3: Retention of a Dedicated LESI Executive Director
The size, needs and complexities of LESI have grown significantly. We have historically relied upon a contract with the administrative office of LES USA & Canada to staff such requirements however their needs also continue to grow. Following discussion first at the NPC meeting in Geneva and then within the Board and the International Management and Delegates Meeting (IMDM) in New Zealand, a decision was made to retain our first Executive Director for LESI. This will begin as a two year, part time contract position but will likely expand to a full time permanent position in the coming years.
As reported in les Nouvelles, the process for selection of our first Executive Director was extensive. We began by forming a small selection committee and the drafting of a postion description reviewed and augmented by the Board. This description was widely posted providing LESI the opportunity to consider a diverse set of professionals. More than 30 qualified applicants contacted LES for the position. This list was narrowed down to five individuals for interviews by the Committee. Those interviewed held remarkable prior positions from both professional associations as well as the IP field, including former/current attorneys, inventors, patent office administrators and clerks for the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. The primary goal of initial term of our Executive Director is to fully understand and develop the role that a more structured administrative function can play in furthering the strategic goals of LESI.
A sincere thank you here both to our current LESI Society Manager, Joenn Khoo, who has been key to this years operations but also to Ken Schoppmann who has mentored Joenn and assisted the LESI Board directly in the recruitment of our new Executive Director. Their work combined with the efforts of the LESI Board and its Committees has furthered greatly the mission of our organization.
#4: Repositioning of les Nouvelles
As President Elect, I formed a les Nouvelles Ad-Hoc Working Group led by Peter Hess and Yvonne Chua and Francois Painchoid. This group recommended to the Board in San Diego a plan to maximize the value of les Nouvelles to LESI and its various stakeholders. Topics considered included the need for les Nouvelles to be cost neutral or profitable to LESI, the economics of production as well as current and potential future dues payments allocated to les Nouvelles. In coordination with the les Nouvelles editorial committee, this working group has now repositioned les Nouvelles to include an electronic version of the Blue Pages and will work in the coming months to implement further improvements.
#5: Strategic Focus on Youger Individual Members
Credit to Past President Adam Liberman for initiating a small task force challenged with increasing participation in LES by younger professionals. As a member of this early work, I have witnessed its maturation into what is now known as the LES Young Members Congress or ‘YMC'. This effort has been an undisputed success and like the NPC has now taken on a life of its own. As part of on-going long range planning targeting younger members, the IMDM included in New Zealand a discussion of the expected future changes in member needs. Generation X and Y are the future of LES and their participation will be driven by different objectives. We are not resting but rather continue work to plan for this change which we believe will include a revised concept of networking, providing benefits beyond in-person meetings and social media. We will also place greater emphasis on helping members to ‘make a difference' in our ecosystem. We need to continue to demonstrate that the value provided by LES membership greatly exceeds its cost. We want to provide to all members greater transparency and an open book view of LESI organizational operations and priorities.
#6: Development of Proposed Intellectual Property Business Principles
LESI reached out to the World Economic Forum and its Global Agenda Council on Intellectual Property as part of GTIF. Dicussions quickly led to this group seeking LES experience to develop a list of Intellectual Property Business Principles which may apply to a wide audience of global corporations and IP owners. A working list of such principles was developed at GTIF and later augmented by the LES Board. The output of this work is the list below which is anticipated to further evolve with your input and changing market conditions.
INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY BUSINESS PRINCIPLES
Draft Proposal of the LESI Global Technology Impact Forum
Recognising that Intellectual Property (IP) of all types is a core asset of our business we support the following principles:
- We will respect the IP rule of law as a key supporting framework for innovation research and development.
- Our IP role and strategy will be presented to our Board at least annually.
- We have a designated CIPO that reports directly to senior management.
- We respect the IP rights of others and will not knowingly infringe.
- We are willing to license out non-strategic IP for value.
- We are willing to license in third party technology for reasonable terms.
- We encourage the development of transparent IP markets and standard IP valuation metrics and reporting.
- We encourage harmonization of IP legal and IP business practice globally.
- Where it does not compromise our commercial objectives, we will license our intellectual property at our discretion for humanitarian and/or pro-poor uses to responsible third parties.
- We will endeavour to continuously improve our knowledge of and education in licensing and technology transfer.
In addition to these few new initiatives, the normal course efforts of the organization continued smoothly through tireless work of our Committees. Perhaps more than any other, the most significant teaching of the office of President is an appreciation of how much we rely on individual members to manage our meetings, generate content for our publications and keep our technology on pace. Fortunately the relationships and experience which come from these efforts provide a unique return on the time invested. If you have not been part of these efforts, I personally encourage you to get involved.
As shown above, a lot has been accomplished in the LES 2011-2012 Society year but much of it is advancing the efforts which began well before I took office and all of it, I hope, will continue to evolve long after I enjoy the calm of completing my LES service on the Board.
Thank you again to all you participated and made this a great year for our organization.
James E. Malackowski
LESI President 2011-2012