Welcome to the August 2009 Carnival of Trust. The Carnival of Trust is a monthly, traveling review of the last month’s best posts related to various aspects of trust in the business world. It is much like the weekly Blawg Reviews that I post links to and have hosted (click here and here), but those generally contain far more than ten links. My job this month was to pick those ten posts for you and provide an introduction to each post that makes you want to click through and read more. For my regular Chicago IP Litigation blog readers, this will be a slight departure from the case analysis format you have come to expect, but very similar to my earlier stints hosting the Carnival of Trust and Blawg Review.
It is the trust that matters, not the title.
At IP Think Tank, Duncan Bucknell added to the recent debate in the patent community about whether the IP function should move into the corporate C-level suite, adding a Chief Intellectual Property Office to the ranks of CEO, COO, CTO, CIO, CLO and CMO – click here and here to read Bucknell’s posts. Following up on comments by Microsoft’s Marshall Phelps and Rockwell Collins’ Bill Elkington, Bucknell explained that the issue is not the name, but in a company having an IP champion that earns the organization’s trust and respect, whatever title that person is given:
You have to build your own credibility within your organisation as someone who reliably gets the job done. As you build trust with those senior to you, then your (ongoing?) commitment to communicating the value that can be added using intellectual property will become more prominent.
Make some (achievable) promises and then deliver. The more that you do this, the more credibility will be given to the IP function, and the greater awareness those senior to you will have. Some would call such a person an ‘IP Evangelist’ – I would say that they are just doing their job. People executing on difficult tasks bit by bit has always been what success is about.
As usual, Bucknell’s analysis is excellent. A person’s respect within an organization is at least as important as their title.
Running an organization is all about building trust.
The patent community focused much of its attention this week on the confirmation hearings for David J. Kappos, nominee for Director of the US Patent & Trademark Office. Click here for Patentability’s summary of the hearing highlights and here for a copy of Kappos’s statement at Patently-O. The hearings were relatively short, likely because there appears to be widespread trust in Kappos’s background and abilities. And although much of the hearing focused on procedural patent office issues, Kappos showed he deserved that trust by focusing his statement on his plans to earn trust with all of the stakeholders in the patent world. He specifically addressed concerns that his corporate background could disadvantage individual inventors or academics:
I am mindful that the USPTO serves the interests of ALL innovators in this country, small and large, corporate and independent, academic and applied, and – most importantly — the public interest. While I have spent my career to date at a large corporate enterprise, I am familiar with the concerns and issues of all USPTO constituents – including small and independent inventors, the venture and start-up community, public interest groups, the patent bar and many others – and will reach out to all of them.
Kappos addressed his plans to build trust with his employees at the USPTO:
I am mindful of the incredible dedication of the thousands of USPTO employees, and the essential role they play to the success of the US innovation system. I will work every day with the USPTO employees and the unions that represent them to establish strong, positive relationships grounded in professional treatment for these workers producing work product based on professional judgment.
He addressed the need to build global trust and relationships:
I am acutely mindful that innovation today is global and that IP policy is of paramount importance, not only in our country, but also in the EU and Japan, in China, India, Brazil and many other developing countries. I will use my international experience and my understanding of global IP trends to help this Administration represent, advance, and protect the interests of American innovators in the global arena and to lead the world in developing strong, balanced, inclusive intellectual property systems that advance the well-being of all participants.
And he addressed the need to build trust with the Administration he seeks to join and the American people the Administration serves:
Finally, I am mindful that the office for which I am being considered, working as part of Secretary Locke’s team and within the Administration’s agenda, must be intensely focused on how to serve the American people at this time of economic uncertainty.
Gene Quinn provides proof that Kappos’s trust-building efforts worked in his IPWatchdog post about the hearings (click here to read the post):
In all, what Kappos said was certainly reassuring, and he should have absolutely no problem getting confirmed. If he does stay mindful of the needs of all those who use the USPTO, small, large and in between, and the interests of the diverse industries who sometimes need contradictory things in order to thrive, he will not only be a good leader, but he will be an exceptional leader and might really reform the Patent Office into the entity it can and should be in order to foster economic development and job creation in the US.