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Putting Passion in IP

Season 3, Episode 8

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Episode 8  in Season 3 of the Cipher Vision Podcast series features Anjanette Lecher, Director, Intellectual Asset Management at Corning Incorporated.

Anjanette shared with us her love of intellectual property, discussing how to take a customer-centric approach when analysing and presenting data, adopting the correct tools to support efficiency and visualisations. She also highlighted the importance of a diverse team and the need to make IP accessible.

She chats to the hosts of the Cipher Vision podcast, who are:

Listen to Anjanette’s Key Takeaway

Conversation Highlights

How has the perception of intellectual property changed over the time?

The value of intellectual property has evolved into a wonderful appreciation for the data analytics behind our competitive IP. 

15 years ago, the role of an IP analyst was not as prolific as it is today. There was just a handful of IP analysts in the company. I took it as a personal mission to really understand voice of customer.  

What is going well and what would they like to see in order to be able to really provide value to the organisation?

On the importance of visualising data 

I would try a variety of visualisations and different analytical approaches to patents. One might ask, ‘how do you even analyse a patent?’, but patents are still data. 

The visualisation of data is much more powerful than sending a spreadsheet or just sending a list of patents and saying, ‘you should read these’. It’s really analysing what the patents say. And then presenting it in a manner that explains why the business should care.

I think what the Intellectual Asset Management function excels at is taking an enormous amount of data, analysing the data, categorising the data and summarising the data in a form that is digestible from the business.

Corning’s diversity initiatives

The Intellectual Property Owners Education Foundation (IPO EF) is an organisation whose strategic mission is to create an awareness about the importance of IP, with a focus on underrepresented or underserved communities. 

I felt that this organisation really spoke to me as a person, coming from an underrepresented community or tribal community, and that I made it my mission to help support their strategic mission.

IPO EF has several free materials to educate the next generation of innovators. We took this curriculum, and the first place we started with was our local Girl Scouts. 

The next place we went to was the Tuscarora Indian Nation. So my tribal community, and we present it to the fifth and sixth graders about what is IP. And we also try to focus on explaining it and teaching it to them from their lens as Native American people, so what is it in their daily lives, that surrounds them that has an element of intellectual property associated with it?

Understanding diversity within Corning

Corning signed on with the diversity pledge in late 2021 as a public commitment to studying, analysing and working to improve the gender disparity in our inventorship. 

We have worked over the course of the past 18 months to understand what is our women inventor rate, which is the number of unique women inventors, over the total number of unique inventors. It is 16% and so that exceeds the USPTO reported average in their last progress and potential report. 

We also have studied and analysed our patents with women inventors and that number is outstanding. It’s at 34%, compared to what we see in the US progress and potential report of 22%. 

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Sharing a love for data

It is a gift, to be able to present patent data in a form that is meaningful to the business. 

An example, is benchmarking with Cipher. The beauty of Cipher is that you can put in an enormous amount of data, and it provides the visualisations for you. 

You can more quickly get to the analysis phase of your study, versus going through all of the manual iterations of data analysis and then work towards interpreting what does this data mean to me? What does it mean to my business? 

Implementing new technologies and new approaches 

My advice would be to do your due diligence. 

We were a little bit hesitant to embark on the machine learning journey because our history as a team is to analyse large amounts of patent data. And so the fact that Cipher can provide a result set so quickly, meant we really had to learn how to trust that data. 

We have spent half of our careers manually analysing data, which is very time consuming. There’s no shortcut to analysing patents and so using machine learning to help you get to that analysis phase quicker, is helping us become more efficient, more effective, and to do more.

What does the future hold?

It’s critical to be able to understand who is filing what, when, where, what are the technical solutions.

In order to understand that, you need to have the right tools and you need to have the right resources in place to analyse that data for you.

And so I think the value of Intellectual Asset Management will continue to grow. 

Anjanette’s key takeaway

My vision is that your listeners understand and appreciate the role, contributions and impact that Intellectual Asset Analysts and Intellectual Asset Managers make to the organisation, and that these contributions are stronger and richer, if coming from a diverse team, which I’m fortunate enough to have.

Nigel’s key takeaway

Corning has had a culture of innovation for over 170 years. Anjanette’s passion for intellectual property is contagious. 

There’s a hard edge to her narrative. IP remains a subject that is inaccessible and not just for the underrepresented communities that Anjanette directly supports. It remains a topic where IP professionals need to learn the languages of business and the many dialects: encompassing commercial, technical as well as legal. 

What these communities have in common is the need for evidence to support strategic decisions. We are fortunate to live in an era where there is more patent data and advanced technologies to analyse that data. 

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