Coreena Brinck joined Zacco in May 2020 during the UK’s Coronavirus lockdown. She is a European Patent Attorney and UK Patent Attorney and a Fellow of the UK Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys (CIPA) and is based in London. The interview was conducted during her first week at Zacco.
On the impact of communication technology
Coreena: -I have been working with communication technology for the past twenty years and the impact developments in this area have had on the way we all live our lives is fascinating. Even now (with the lockdown) I can connect and collaborate with people all over the world. I think we all value social contacts and communication more as a result. For me, the patent system is about encouraging investment and research, and also it helps people to collaborate which can increase the pace of development. So to me, the patent system encourages investment and innovation not just in an abstract way but also has indirectly had an impact on our daily lives as we are all now relying on patented technology in ways we would not have thought possible just a few decades ago to cope with the Coronavirus.
Summarising two decades of working with patents and IP strategy
Coreena: – Now I will try make a long story short! I finished my PhD in Space Physics from Imperial College London in 1997 and since then, I have worked with patents and IP strategy in various roles which have given me lots of different perspectives about how IP is created and used strategically to add value to companies. I started out in private practice for about two years and later I switched to the industry, to large communications employers as British Telecommunications and Nokia before returning to private practice in 2017. I have worked with a wide range of fixed and mobile communications technology and have handled many software related inventions and for mobile applications I am still amazed at how it has evolved. Not only have I had experience in house which stretched over the whole lifecycle of patents but at Nokia, I also headed up the patenting operations team and had to handle the operational side of the “patent factory”.
So I’ve worked a lot with management, on patent budgets and how to make a patent portfolio cost effective, as well as how to make patents which can support a commercial strategy, on top of all the usual patent drafting, prosecution, and licensing and litigation support activity that patent attorneys get involved with. When I was at Nokia I was able to compare the way Nokia ran its patent department with the way that other firms managed their patent departments and also how they managed their relationships with different patent firms. This was very interesting both procedurally and from a cost-perspective.
On the perks of working in private practice
Coreena: -What makes working in private practice so attractive for me now is partly the variety of innovations I see from day to day. As my early academic background is physics and maths it is great to now have opportunities to handle inventions in areas like machine learning and quantum computing which when I was at university were very much “blue sky” research. In private practice, you need to think fast to handle and understand a broader spectre of inventions than when working in-house which I enjoy.
I also love to help clients realise the value of their IP and to help them realise how they may be able to gain more value from it and commercialise it in ways they don’t always think of themselves, for example, if they could use patents for revenue generation (e.g. by licensing) as well as revenue protection (e.g. defensively).
On Zacco’s business model and future collaborations
Coreena: -When it comes to Zacco’s business model and the IP 360, I am totally convinced this is the right direction to take for IP firms.
“When meeting a client with digital assets, I can say that, at Zacco, we have cyber security services as well to help protect your digital assets and build digital trust in-house instead of just talking about patentability.”
I can have a more rounded discussion with clients about their needs and if they may benefit from it point clients towards the digital trust part of the business which means I can provide better client care. I really do look forward to collaborating with colleagues from Digital Brand and Digital Trust.
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