Yerra's People in IP series highlights intellectual property professionals who have made, or are making, significant impacts on the industry. Whether it is by innovating in the way they manage their organization's IP portfolio or by implementing new IP software or processes, we are glad to celebrate all who endeavor to improve and acheive great things in the world of IP. One such person is Béatrix de Russé, a member of the IP Hall of Fame and one of the leading female influencers in intellectual property. She has graciously written a two part series explaining how she took a struggling global IP department and turned it into a major source of revenue for the corporation.
An excerpt from Part I is below. The entire paper may be downloaded here.
The Beginning - Falling into IP
Most IP people that I know just seem to fall into IP along the way. Well, I am no exception. Having graduated with Masters in English and Law, I accepted my first position as an attorney with Thomson CSF where I was in charge of drafting standard contracts for training foreign students to become qualified professionals in their countries’ factories.
Once finished, I moved on to the International Division of Thomson CSF where I discovered a fascination for negotiating contracts. However, becoming frustrated that years of work were being annihilated by changes in politics, I moved on to more practical matters and joined Thomson Components (today ST Microelectronics).
This is where I truly discovered IP and became specialized in IP matters. Shortly after my arrival, Thomson Components acquired Mostek. A goldmine that no one knew about was discovered in their patent portfolio. You see, Mostek was the owner of Essential Patents in DRAM (Dynamic Random Access Memory). Doors opened around the world for ludicrous licensing opportunities. Then in 1993 when ST Microelectronics moved its Headquarters to Geneva, I joined Thomson Consumer Electronics (today Technicolor) to head up their team of 3 (yes, 3 people) in charge of negotiating patent licensing agreements.
I accepted with pleasure and was thrilled to be in a purely business position, especially since I had never been really attracted to the legalities of contracts but more so attracted to the negotiation aspects. A new life was beginning which would last for the next 20 years of my career.