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 Kevin Garwood, who graduated in the Certified University Course IP Valuation.

IP business academy: What is your professional background and how did you come to the interesting area of IP and IP management?

Kevin Garwood: I’ve spent most of my career as a software developer, metadata manager, data manager and data architect. I’ve mainly worked in bioinformatics, health and biomedical domains. I earned my PhD at the University of Manchester, where I explored applying a model-driven approach to generating applications in bioinformatics. Of late I’ve been working in phases of drug development, beginning with early AI-based drug discovery and exploring  the design of clinical trial systems.

My interest in biotech ultimately traces to a single lecture about Intellectual Property Law I once audited at the University of Victoria in Canada. I had been helping translate telecom terms for Professor Robert Howell and he let me audit his IP course. When he covered the patent case study of the Onco Mouse, I was baffled by it and I became interested in how IP intersected with emerging bioinformatics domains.

Years later I encountered an entirely different interest route into IP when I became passionately interested in helping to build open source software that would allow traditional healers to create and replay preparations of medicinal plant concoctions. I had envisioned the work as a way for healers to grow their knowledge bases in a way that helped their own communities and as a means of sharing knowledge through projects that would financially incentivize communities enough to help preserve biodiversity areas for drug and chemical discovery. I wanted to help them cultivate some kind of financial incentive to help offset interests in land use that would destroy the biodiversity.

In all the areas I encountered, the development of information systems ultimately reflected attitudes about ethics, trust, law, knowledge sharing and who benefits from that sharing. That would stay with me for a long while.

IP was important in areas of bioinformatics and traditional knowledge databases and I fed on a steady diet of WIPO distance learning courses. One of the most interesting courses was on Intellectual Property Management and it really resonated with my work in scientific computing projects.

As the era of Big Data progressed, I kept hearing about how much data were being generated and how valuable they were. And yet when I read Doug Laney’s Infonomics book, I was shocked to discover that data were not well recognised as an asset class in accounting and finance circles. How could data be both so valuable and yet not be a recognisable asset?

That’s what led me to CEIPI’s IP Valuation course. I wasn’t so much interested in doing IP valuation on patents. I wanted to see how an IP valuation could be adapted to support data as an intangible asset class. ‘Data’ is difficult to define and it is awkwardly supported by existing types of IP. I really enjoyed the course and used those insights and others in a series of articles I wrote about data valuation. See:

IPBA: How did your studies in the Certificate course IP Valuation expand your knowledge about IP management?

KG: Taking the course catalysed a journey of discovery for me to consider the value of data – something that I have spent most of my career supporting through infrastructure projects. In conferences and other seminars I would hear how valuable data were, but few people would actually try to describe a process for articulating what that value was about.

Data can be associated with all kinds of value, and I see that in the social, historical, cultural and scientific value data have produced in projects I’ve been fortunate enough to work on. But the infrastructure that supports the data life cycle comes with a cost that is usually measured monetarily. Focusing on data valuation in terms of economic benefits resonated as a way to help answer concerns about costs. I also liked the idea in the course that ‘economic benefits’ wasn’t just about making money, but it also covered saving money as well. That’s really important to remember.

IPBA: How has taking the Certificate course helped you in your career and are there examples of situations where the knowledge from the course has helped you?

KG: I’ve been involved with areas of data management and trying to evaluate what data sources could best create value in areas like drug development. I feel we’re leaving the era of Big Data and entering the era of Good Data – or even just Good Enough Data. Data collection needs to be rationalized through use, and that can be encouraged by thinking ahead of how even a mock IP valuation would be applied to an organisation’s existing data assets.

I remember a sentiment from Professor Wurzer’s IP Valuation course: “The concrete value constitution of IP can be understood as a properly matching combination of three components: the qualitative characteristics of the patent, the utilisation procedure and the complementary goods necessary for it.” I replaced ‘patent’ with ‘data’ and it continued to make sense. So figure out what makes ‘good data’, come up with some use cases for it and think about all the things you need in place to make those scenarios happen.

At the heart of data strategies is the idea of treating your data like an asset and using them to generate value in the context of an organisation’s goals. If you agree with that idea, then knowing how IP actually gets valued in practice is useful.

IPBA: Who would you recommend to take an IP Management Certificate course at CEIPI?

KG: Yes I would. I’m not a lawyer but I’ve found it useful to learn enough about IP law so that I can ask smarter questions of legal departments at organisations I work with. I think data strategy needs to be closely aligned with IP management and if you’re involved in data it makes sense to appreciate IP valuation.

IPBA: Do you think IP management and knowledge/skills from the Certificate courses will become more important and why?

KG: Absolutely yes. In a growing number of digital organisations, the perception of their value continues to focus on data. The credibility of asserting that value will depend on both how well data are managed as an asset and how compelling the triad of valuation object, utilisation scenario and complementary goods is.

It seems obvious that IP management skills would exist in lawyers but it seems less obvious it would reside in the people who produce or manage data. And yet, if data professionals learn about IP management, they can provide valuable suggestions for the organisations in which they work.

About the interviewee:

Kevin Garwood is a Data Architect helping to craft data models that will be used to build an economically efficient trial platform. He had to learn about the procedures of clinical trials, their logistics and supply chain, and their workflows for recruiting and processing participants. He created conceptual and logical data models with requirements input from a team of business analysts and helped to map entities and attributes from the logical model to the physical model being developed by suppliers.

He is interested in data strategy, technology ethics, data management, intellectual property, and architectural design.