“A New Global Consortium for IP Protection”

A Conversation with Steven Sprague, CEO, Wave Systems; Paul Ricci, Chairman and CEO, Nuance Communications; and Mark Anderson, Founding Chair, INVNT/IP

Bill Budinger: Last year you rang the bell for all of us. Where are we vs. a year ago?

Mark Anderson: Backed into story by looking at how world economy works. Where it used to be driven by coal, oil money, it’s now driven by IP. Many have worked this out and try to maximize it. Others, the inventors, still weren’t aware of it. Now, this year, they’re much more aware.

Richard Clarke came out and said every US company had been freed of IP by cyber attack. Conversation is encouraging, but the number of attacks is rising and the drain on the economy gets worse.

Paul Ricci: It’s a very imp issue. In the tech industry we tend not to focus so much on govt intervention, but this is an example of when we need that. The situation is better than a year ago but not good enough. Technology and IP have been the motivation behind vast numbers of acquisitions. Nuance has invested 50 million over the last decade in IP.

“This is a paramount concern for us.”

Steven Sprague: We’re clearly behind the curve. Is there any metric where we’re actually improving? Theft is up, etc. Theft of IP is very under-reported. This requires much more than any one company’s action.

BB: How do we advance national consciousness?

MA: It’s very hard to tell if we’re being listened to or not. Expect to see some debate during presidential election about this. It’s becoming a front and center trade issue. Both Romney and Obama are talking strongly about this.

BB: Is threat greater by doing business in China or by existing in cyberspace?

MA: What if value of IP isn’t just its replacement value, but its value in international competitiveness.

SS: It’s a problem of education. Kids are taught to share everything, but within companies that won’t work. It opens it all up for the taking.

MM: Kids havent had to have the discipline of running a company or a country. There are two kinds of IP: crown jewels and things that everyone wants to share like APIs.

PR: The diminution of entire industries is not so obvious at any moment in time, which means we’re under investing in IP protection.

MA: Japanese do not bring their top IP to China, whereas when Jeff Imelt shows up he gives away the blueprints to the Boeing planes.

BB: Is there a tool for companies to help them avoid caving?

MA: International trade deals need to take record of IP protection into account, which we’re seeing with the TPP deal Obama’s trying to drive.

SS: We know how to do it better, we need to do it better. Security infrastructure needs to be built in. It needs to be part of the design. EPA took 3 years to replace all motherboards with lead-free. We’ve taken 10 years to deal with IP theft.

PR: We really need state action to help us do this. The govt could be far more vocal on this. There’s some reluctance to do that and it’s not fully embraced by industry who are concerned about their loss of market opportunity. This consortium won’t solve the problem, but it’s a good step in the right direction.

MA: We’re seeking support and interest. If you as a company or industry are interested in this, please get in touch with us. Each member of INVT/IP has his or her own strengths. Our job is to help each of these players do their best.