VP and General Counsel, Avegant
Inspiring others to seek out their “working joy.”
Founding Partner at HIPLegal LLP
For years, I gave my good years to my large law firm, spending days, nights, weekends toiling in high-stakes patent litigation. In 2014, I took control of my working life and focused on maximizing the joy I derive from practicing law. I co-founded a small intellectual property law firm with two other women in tech, and transitioned from litigation to using the realities of IP litigation to help clients develop robust competitive IP strategies. When I started focusing on working joy I saw benefits both in my effectiveness as a lawyer and my well-being and happiness as a person. It also highlighted how little working joy we find in most of our workplaces. It is not a “nice to have.” Working joy is critical to our health as people and to our work environments. So, I share my working joy story, highlight the working joy of awesome women in my podcast “HIPerspectives,” and look for ways to help companies create more thriving workplaces through the CLUB Thriving Workplace Initiative.
Intellectual property (“IP”) is valuable when properly protected and strategically used. Leveraging insights from two decades of IP litigation across a broad spectrum of industries, I partner with our clients to help them maximize the competitive value of their IP in the context of their business strategy as well as navigate the IP of their competitors.
Education is the first step. Understanding – in general business terms, not legalese – the basics of IP (whether patents, trade secrets, trademarks, copyrights, or technology contracts) empowers our clients to identify and resolve issues quickly. At HIPLegal, we seek to educate in every interaction with our clients and also provide general information on our news and resources pages on our site (www.hiplegal.com).
To maximize the competitive value of IP, I focus on three core areas:
- Identification: To build a strong IP portfolio, the first step is to identify the brands, inventions, and technology that are key to our clients’ competitive positions in their industries.
- Protection: Once identified, IP needs to be protected. Often, there are decisions to be made about the type of protection that would best protect the IP – for example, whether an invention should be patented or protected as a trade secret. My partners and I assist our clients in registering trademarks, setting up trade secret programs, obtaining patent protection, negotiating and drafting technology-based licenses or contracts, and implementing best practices to prepare for or withstand litigation.
- Strategic use: Some IP is important to simply hold for its defensive value. But IP can be a strong asset when actively used, whether to obtain financing, engage a competitor in license discussions, or initiate litigation to stop a competitor from infringing IP rights. I focus on helping our clients identify and evaluate competitive opportunities – through the lens of their business goals – to strategically use their IP, including:
- Competitive IP analyses to identify opportunities for in- or out-licensing
- Due diligence to ascertain strength, value, and risk of IP or business opportunities with an IP component
- Enforcement analyses to determine value and strength of IP for assertion generally and against specific potential infringers
- Defensive analyses to evaluate risk and opportunities for licensing
- Pre-litigation and pending litigation strategic counseling to chart a cost-effective litigation course that aligns with business objectives.
At its core, HIPLegal is a team, both within our firm and in partnership with our clients. By understanding our clients’ business and strategy, and leveraging our collective, complementary expertise, we ensure the strategies we design and implement align with our clients’ business values and anticipate future issues. Upon this foundation, we help maximize our clients’ opportunities in identifying, protecting, and maximizing the strategic value of their IP.
In addition to my legal practice, I am passionate about the advancement of women into leadership positions. In 2011, I saw the need for and co-founded a women’s club focused on increasing women’s presence in leadership positions in Silicon Valley and beyond – a club that provides leadership training to women, facilitates practice of leadership skills and has built a strong network of women leaders across Silicon Valley. In October 2012, the CLUB, an incubator of women leaders, was launched. I am proud to be President and Co-Founder of the CLUB. For information about membership and sponsorship, see www.theclubsv.org.