Q: First of all, what was your role at Cell Signaling Technology?
James Cullem: I served nearly 7 years as the company’s Chief Counsel as well as its Director of Intellectual Property & Licensing, during the early years of the company’s evolution. In these roles I was part of the senior management team, interfacing closely with other department heads of research, business development, and marketing.
Q: What are the core businesses of Cell Signaling Technology?
James Cullem: Cell Signaling Technology is a global leader in the phosphoproteomics space, has introduced game-changing discovery technologies like its PhosphoScan(R) platform, and develops superior reagents to advance the study of tumor biology and cellular signaling defects underlying disease. More information about the company can be found at its website, www.cellsignal.com.
The management of intellectual property (IP) assets and strategies is vital to the success of today’s bioentrepreneurs, according to James Cullem. Proper techniques will optimize the value and ROI of various IP assets (trade secrets, copyrights, license rights, trademarks, patents) owned by a particular company.
James Cullem knows from experience that entrepreneurs and executives at biotechnology firms can gain an advantage in the market by efficiently managing their IP assets and strategies. In order to accomplish this task, it’s important to think synergistically, align all efforts across functional groups (business development, marketing, legal, etc.) and pursue and develop the right partnerships. At each stage of development, James Cullem strongly urges entrepreneurs to align IP management with other core business activities such as marketing and sales, R&D strategies and business development. Doing so leads to better organizational management and strategic outcomes.
A patent establishes exclusive legal rights to its owner (the assignee) regarding the use, manufacture, and sale of certain technology, notes respected, registered patent attorney, James Cullem. Patent attorneys handle all aspects of the patenting process, from initial evaluation of the invention to determine if it is patentable, to preparation, filing, and prosecution of the patent, through issuance, appeal, and maintenance. James Cullem observes that patent attorneys are highly trained and knowledgeable in this legal specialty, which requires further credentials — including admission and registration by the trademark and patent office in an attorney’s home country — than just a law degree.
In the United States, patent attorneys must show competence in their particular area of focus before passing a special test required for admission to the Patent Bar. According to James Cullem, there is a relative dearth of registered patent attorneys compared with other specialties, both in the U.S. and worldwide. The patent test is an extremely challenging examination that determines the breadth and depth of the attorney’s knowledge. A candidate must possess an adequate technical or scientific education or background (sufficient to understand technology and inventions in the technical area in which he/she will specialize) before being able to even sit for the required patent exam.
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