How would you describe your approach to work? I enjoy the strategy and commercial side of the job most – my approach reflects this. I strive to understand my client’s business and expectations first and then suggest an approach to compliment this. The biggest mistake a new company makes is to over-reach and file in too many countries. A narrower, more focussed, strategy is easier to manage from both a costs and technical perspective. What is the key to being a great team member? A great team member requires a great team leader – and John Lawrence can’t be beat. As a firm, our technical backgrounds complement each other to provide a wealth of knowledge that covers essentially all technical areas. This allows us to tailor our approach to ensure the right person is doing the right job. Being a great team member is knowing when someone else in the team is better suited to a task. What’s the best bit of advice you’ve had? In patent drafting, call a spade a spade. An instrument suitable for digging may sound broader, but is the invention really intended for industrial drilling machines? What has been the most frightening moment of your business life? The most frightening moment is the continual pressure to ensure the best outcome for the client. This is particularly true for smaller clients where their patent application may be trying to protect the one big idea on which their business is depending. What’s the key to a great patent? A great patent is one that has weathered the storm of prosecution and come out the other side thoroughly tested but still commercially useful. The patent family I’m most proud of has granted patents of similar scope in multiple countries and survived post-grant opposition intact. If you could work in another country, which would it be? Of the places I’ve visited, Hong Kong and Vancouver stand out – both provide stunning cityscapes with a vibrant, diverse atmosphere. Although Hong Kong is warmer! What’s the best talk you’ve seen? Recent Chemistry Nobel laurate Fraser Stoddart stands out – great content, lots of humour and he managed to enliven a potentially dry subject. I’ve also enjoyed Sir Paul Nurse and Don Eigler talks immensely. How has the IP industry changed during your career? The last decade has seen patent information become easily available, providing a wealth of technical data to take advantage of and be wary of. Patent offices are slowly adapting to the times, with moves to speed-up the patenting process. Overall patents are a slow-moving area of the law, but overall the sands are shifting towards quicker prosecution and more oppositions and litigation. The onus will soon be on companies to monitor and regulate their competitors granted patents – they should be wary of relying on the patent office to weed out weak patents. How do you feel about networking? Networking is not a separate box to be ticked – it is about being available, being present and being approachable. How do you relax? In the absence of time to play golf, I enjoy computing, chasing after my young family and television!