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Innovator Series: Why your business needs an IP Strategy


March 09, 2022


Across Canada


Innovator Series

Join Innovation Asset Collective on March 9, 2022 at 3:00 PM ET / 1:00 PM MT / 12:00 PM PT for an in-depth discussion on the value of an Intellectual Property Strategy for business. Panelists will break an IP Strategy down into its components and explore the common influences that impact one. They will also describe how aligning business strategy with IP Strategy can support the value proposition of a business and enable the ability to grow and scale.

*Members get more: IAC Members will get the recorded webinar as well as takeaway slides with key points and action items from the panelists. 

If you have any questions about the event, please reach out to education@ipcollective.ca.

Other membership inquiries can be directed to Melissa Bouffard at mbouffard@ipcollective.ca.

The experts joining the conversation are:

• Mike McLean, CEO at Innovation Asset Collective

Mike McLean is the CEO of the Innovation Asset Collective (IAC), an organization helping Canadian data-driven cleantech companies maximize the value of their intangible assets, to provide leverage for the businesses to scale, and to build capacity in the Canadian IP ecosystem. Before joining IAC, Mike was the Senior Vice President of IP services at TechInsights where he founded the patent development service and established a centre of excellence around patent portfolio management and patent assessments.

His practice enables data-driven decision making and effective identification of patent assets for enforcement or sale, provides guidance on invention selection and patent acquisition programmes, and ensures the alignment of patent portfolios with intellectual property and business strategy. Mike has worked extensively with the technology practices of major law firms, in-house corporate counsel teams of global technology companies, and external licensing agencies. Mike also holds a BSc in engineering (first-class honours) from Queens University. 

• Erin Pisko, VP of IP Strategy, Innovation Asset Collective

Erin Pisko is the VP of IP Strategy at IAC. In her role, Erin provides strategic leadership centered on innovation strategy to member companies with the objective of building intellectual property (IP) roadmaps aligned with business objectives and an IP literate workforce. Erin is a registered patent agent with decades of experience working both in-house, building out ecosystems for innovation and at top-tier Canadian law firms, assisting companies from diverse industries in building/transforming their innovation strategy.

Throughout Erin’s career, her passion has been to help companies of all sizes find value in going beyond the ‘a-ha’ moment of their initial discovery and building on that moment to drive value in the everyday aspects of the business.   Erin also holds Master and Bachelor degrees in Civil and Environmental Engineering. 

• Heather Mueller, Executive VP, Intellectual Property, NCS Multistage

Heather Mueller is the Executive Vice President, Intellectual Property at NCS Multistage. After receiving Bachelor and Master of Science degrees, Heather began her IP career in a University technology transfer environment, gaining insight into the intersection of academia, IP, and industry. She later transitioned to private practice as a patent agent, working with companies of all sizes, primarily in the energy sector, for more than a decade.

Through those experiences, Heather’s interest in corporate innovation strategy led her to join the in-house IP legal team at Suncor Energy, working directly with innovators and business leaders to further broaden her perspective and experience. By 2017 a former client, NCS Multistage, had grown from a small energy services startup to become a publicly traded company, and she joined them to develop and lead the execution of their IP strategy. In her current role, Heather remains responsible for intellectual property strategy while also overseeing the corporate marketing function and providing leadership to ESG initiatives. With a strong commitment to volunteerism and continuous improvement of the IP profession, Heather is currently serving in her fourth year as a member of the Board of Directors of the Intellectual Property Institute of Canada and has been an active member on many IPIC committees throughout her career. Outside of her professional life, Heather enjoys hiking, gardening, cycling, kayaking, and reading. 

• Dr. Richard “Dick” Thurston, Of Counsel, Duane Morris LLP.,
Former Sr. VP & General Counsel, TSMC

Dr. Richard (“Dick”) Thurston is the former Senior Vice President and General Counsel of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, Ltd. While at TSMC Dr. Thurston assisted the company in developing a best-in-class trade secret protection program. On behalf of TSMC, he successfully initiated major litigation against defendants who had misappropriated TSMC trade secrets. Furthermore, he was instrumental in achieving major legislative reform in Taiwan for the protection of trade secrets. Before joining TSMC, Dr. Thurston was a partner with Haynes and Boone, (Dallas, TX.), where he was Chairperson of the firm’s International Practice Section.  Dr. Thurston graduated Cum Laude with a B.A. in History from Alma College (Alma, MI). He earned both M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in East Asian Studies from the University of Virginia, where he was a Jefferson Scholar. Dick’s J.D. degree is from Rutgers School of Law – Camden, NJ. He also studied law at Soochow University (Taiwan) while researching his Ph.D. dissertation.

Dr. Thurston has written and lectured widely on international, transactional, and intellectual property matters, most especially trade secret protection. He has received many awards and recognitions throughout his career. In 2013, he was selected from 800 nominees as the ILO Asia-Pacific General Counsel of the Year. Upon retiring from TSMC, Dr. Thurston assumed a number of advisory roles, most notably as a member of the Board of Executive Advisers of the Hong Kong-based NGO International IP Commercialization Council, more commonly known as IIPCC.