The IP-Management program at CEIPI is by far the most successful executive management program in IP in Europe. Since 2005, CEIPI has offered a comprehensive IP Management education, for which it develops case studies with C-Level executives and heads of IP from industry to prove the success of its methods, skills and knowledge. The students and lecturers of the program come from industry, private practice, and institutions from around the globe. The IP-Management education at CEIPI is modular, ranging from University Certificates, over the Diplôme Universitaire Intellectual Property Business Administration (DU IPBA), the Master of Intellectual Property Law and Management (MIPLM, Master (II), LLM) to the PhD in IP management. Here, is an interview with Dr. Alexandra Cordes, who lectures in our distance learning course “Quality in operational IP Management” about “IP compliance, portfolio management, effectiveness and efficiency”.

Dr. Alexandra Cordes has 23 years of experience in IP management, IP transactions and IT Law. She started her career in 2000 with SAP SE, a globally operating enterprise software company. There she started in the Corporate Legal Department and finally had the position of Global Vice President and Head of Strategic IP Initiatives as part of the Global IP Department. In 2019 she founded her own law firm where she supports businesses in implementing or improving their IP management and IP Compliance. In addition, she advises on IT and IP transactions which involve agreement drafting and negotiations. She is passionate about helping her clients to manage their IP and providing insights on how to best apply supporting measures in the given organization. Especially, Alexandra is interested in IP Risk Management and Compliance, e.g. with regards to Open Source. She holds a Doctor of Law degree in international law from the University of Münster, Germany.

1 . What is your professional background and how did you come to the interesting area of IP and IP management?

I am a German lawyer and focussed already during my studies on international law. My thesis was in the area of contracting on the internet when there were only a handful of websites and no real online shopping available. Therefore, starting my career at SAP was a perfect fit: to work in an international environment with focus on software and IT law.

Through working on licensing and software development agreements, I more and more got interested in how to use IP to further the business and how to protect the company’s IP assets. This then has led me to create and implement a worldwide IP compliance program and afterwards furthering the value and protection of SAP’s IP applying different strategies.

Now, I enjoy working with different companies, providing my knowledge as well as getting exposed to new business and licensing models. Especially working with start-ups and smaller companies is rewarding.

2 . Which course are you teaching and why do you think that this content is especially important for the participants?

I am teaching a course on effectiveness and efficiency in IP compliance and portfolio management, which reflect the two major aspects of IP management: managing risks and generating value. It is important to know how to set these areas up for success and implement processes and procedures as well as the underlying guidelines and policies in a way that supports the company’s business. Each company is different but the steps to get to an efficient and effective management of IP risks and the IP portfolio are the same.

3 . What do you think are the advantages of taking a course in fully distance learning?

Since I am part of the active workforce, I used all forms of digital communication. In developing and rolling out companywide programs, I looked into all kind of forms for transferring knowledge to people.

I think the most effective way to acquire knowledge is a combination between online courses and supporting materials. It gives the learner the authority to decide when and where he/she wants to learn. This flexibility on time, pace and location is the key. Also, the combination of reading text materials and having the opportunity to watch a short video on the same contents helps in the learning process.

4 . The distance learning courses provide theoretical knowledge and are supported by practitioners from companies and private practice. How does this combination benefit the students?

Most students, including myself, learn better with examples. It is one thing to understand the theory but another to apply it in real life. I struggled myself in the first years of my career with the fact, that life develops cases that cannot be matched easily to teachings from university. Going through the process of applying what you have learned in business will give you the real know how. Thus, practitioners have valuable insights for students to learn from and acquire unique know how.

5 . Which qualifications do the students acquire and how does it help them on the job market?

In my course I will show how to implement compliance and portfolio management in an organization across the different involved functions. With that knowledge students have the ability to think cross-functional and work together with different departments to achieve a common goal.

This is very important in the given work environment, as it is no longer important to be the expert on an island but to be part of companywide end-to-end processes. This is what most employers need: employees that think beyond their subject matter expertise and have an eye for the big picture and company needs.