Effectively managing opportunities/risks associated with intangible corporate assets (panel discussion)

Nathaniel Lipkus

Nov 8, 2023

It is a great sense of accomplishment for a company to create a new product or invention that takes the market by storm. This excitement can quickly dissipate if the organization has not taken sufficient steps to protect its intellectual property (IP) and its creativity is freely borrowed by others for commercial purposes, or if the organization is accused of infringing a competitor’s IP. An Institute of Corporate Directors panel discussion entitled “Navigating Opportunities and Risks with Intangible Corporate Assets”, moderated by partner Nathaniel Lipkus and sponsored by Osler, focused on strategies for companies to safeguard their intellectual assets while driving corporate value.

Panelists were Heather Mueller, the executive vice-president of product strategy for NCS Multistage, a technology-intensive oilfield services company. Heather, a U.S. and Canadian patent agent, has led the IP function at her company — taking it from only a few to more than 100 issued strategically focused patents, while coordinating NCS’ cross -border IP enforcement. Karima Bawa, as the other panelist, was the former general counsel and chief legal officer for Blackberry. Karima has also provided strategic IP advice to various organizations, served on several boards, and is currently the Chair of Intellectual Property Ontario.

Among the questions asked of the panelists for discussion purposes:

  • What makes a company vulnerable to IP risk?
  • In the case of a company releasing an important new product, what are some questions to be asking at the board level with regard to IP issues?
  • How can companies plan ahead to avoid a cease-and-desist letter or a lawsuit, or at least be prepared to fight if either situation arises?
  • How can a company ensure IP literacy is ingrained in its company culture?
  • What are some common myths about IP?