As we enter the second half of 2021, we find ourselves only a few short months away from the LES USA and Canada Annual Meeting. In addition to bringing members across chapters together for education and networking, the annual meeting also marks the start of term for the incoming LES USA and Canada President and Chair of the Board. This year, we will welcome Scott Williams in that role. A long-time LES member and established LES Board member, Scott will bring 25 years of experience in licensing and business development to his role as President. And as he prepares to receive the presidential baton from current LES President and Chair, Gillian Fenton, we wanted to take a moment to introduce you to your President- and Chair-Elect.
LES: How did you start your career in licensing?
Scott: Early in my career, I held several business development roles for manufacturers of industrial automation equipment. The skills developed in those roles allowed me to move into a licensing role at BTG, a UK-based technology development and licensing company. My experience at BTG was very broad, allowing me to be involved with many different types of projects, including patent acquisitions and divestitures, emerging technology licensing and patent enforcement. From there, I spent several years in consulting and more recently I’ve moved back into corporate licensing roles with InterDigital and now GE.
LES: What is it about licensing that keeps you engaged?
Scott: I find it very rewarding to work on complex deals with highly skilled people from different professional backgrounds. That for me is the most interesting aspect of licensing. Creativity also drives me. One of the great things about licensing is the need for creative solutions to address the unique circumstances from deal to deal.
LES: What skills do you think people need who are new to licensing?
Scott: Licensing requires a broad skill set and few people come into licensing with all of the requisite tools. For those new to licensing you need to be curious, to have a passion for learning, and you need to have the desire work with a diverse group of professionals. That’s where LES can help. LES provides the opportunity to learn through its educational programs, as well as to meet experienced licensing professionals who have varied expertise and come from different professional backgrounds. It is important to get that exposure and to step outside your comfort zone in order to understand all aspects of the licensing business.
LES: What has been your experience with LES?
Scott: I joined LES around the time that I took my first licensing position. I started going to local chapter meetings, and I attended the LES Annual Meeting. I was also a student in some of the educational courses. I found LES to be the best professional organization for me because of the strong focus on education and networking. My early experiences inspired me to take on a number of roles in LES that I continue today. I was the Philadelphia Chapter Chair for five years, I’ve been an instructor for LES courses, I have been on several meeting planning committees and I have been on the Board of Directors for the past several years.
LES: As the next LES President looking toward the post-COVID era, what are some of the challenges that lie ahead and what is your focus moving forward?
Scott: As always, we will strive to continue increasing LES influence in the IP ecosystem through programs like LES Standards and our work in public policy. LES is also developing new initiatives to engage the IP community and provide value to our members and their organizations.
Unfortunately, I think COVID-related challenges will likely continue into my tenure as President. To date, LES has done a great job of adapting to the pandemic. Our 2020 Annual Meeting was reconfigured into a very successful virtual meeting. Other LES in-person meetings and educational offerings have gone virtual as well. Through it all we’ve seen that LES members are extremely committed – LES Sector and Committee work continues in earnest and we keep developing new and creative ways to work together despite the inability to meet in-person. We intend to incorporate those virtual practices that have worked well along with our traditional offerings. Of course, we can’t wait to get back to seeing all of our colleagues in-person and do some face-to-face networking, which has been an LES hallmark for decades.
Please join us for the Annual Meeting in September, as we welcome Scott as the incoming President and Chair of LES USA and Canada. Until then, find out more about LES membership here, and be sure to follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn for all the latest.
About Scott Williams
Scott Williams, President-Elect and Chair-Elect of the Board, LES USA & Canada
Scott is Vice President of Licensing and Technology Ventures at General Electric. Previously, he served as Director, Licensing at InterDigital, a leading mobile technology R&D company. Prior to joining InterDigital, Scott served as Director with Stout Risius Ross, Inc. (formerly Invotex) where he led the transaction services practice area. He was responsible for managing the sale and licensing of clients’ intellectual property assets as well as providing consulting services related to both litigation and the valuation of intellectual property and technology businesses. Scott has more than 20 years of experience in licensing and business development as well as in consulting to technology businesses.