Evelyn Chen

Evelyn Chen, LES President-Elect

Evelyn Chen is Director, IPR and Licensing at Ericsson in Plano, Texas, where she has worked for 10 years. She is responsible for supporting commercialization of the company’s patent portfolio of more than 49,000 patents. Her expertise centers on IP, trademark infringement, litigation, and legal writing. Before becoming Director in 2020, she was Senior Counsel, IPR and licensing. Evelyn’s team does, in her words, “a little of everything” — portfolio development, supporting licensing activities, and litigation. Before joining Ericsson, she was a patent litigator and prosecutor at Sidley Austin, LLP, where she represented national and international clients and clerked for the Honorable David Folsom in U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Texas. Evelyn earned both her Bachelor’s in electrical engineering and her Juris Doctor from the University of Texas.

Q: What is your history with LES?

A: Evelyn: Around the end of 2018, I was drawn into LES by the standards initiative, which had been in place for several years and was beginning to take off. I was invited to be a part of this initiative, which I found very exciting, because before this, nobody had talked about putting together, drafting, and implementing standards in the realm of IP or IP capital licensing commercialization. It was a really interesting opportunity. I’d seen standardization from the technical side – e.g., looking at wi-fi, which many of us are familiar with, but nothing from the business perspective.

I was a member of the standards governance committee, and went from there to representing the standards initiative on the LES Board of Directors. Then I began to serve on the LES board of directors. My involvement gave me a broader, deeper understanding of more aspects of LES. This was important for me because previously, so much of my focus had been on standards.

Expanding my general knowledge of LES was also beneficial because I live and work in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, where there is, at present, no active local LES chapter. There is a large, vibrant chapter in Houston, but that’s a four-hour drive away. I really feel that serving on the board tied me closer to LES. And last year – this fiscal year — I was honored and fortunate to be selected as president-elect.

Q: Since you were recognized as a Future Leader—Gender Diversity by Chambers several years ago, how has the landscape for women in IP changed?

A: Evelyn: Diversity is a journey. Not only gender and racial diversity, but also inclusion of all viewpoints is a work in progress in the IP profession. It’s a difficult issue for everyone to navigate. At LES, the President, the Immediate Past President, and the President-elect are all women. However, diversity is still an issue, despite our current leadership. If you consider the entire membership, it’s definitely not at parity. The most important thing for LES, as an organization, is to encourage everyone with the potential interest and talent in this space to grow.

Q: What are your plans for your tenure as LES President?

A: Evelyn: My main goal is to increase member engagement – that is, I want to grow the LES community. We’ve rolled out some new membership programs over the last couple of years to draw in members, encourage younger professionals to join, and attract people who are new to the profession. I want to build on that and create within LES a vibrant community where people are interacting and getting something special they might not get from any other organization. LES offers great networking opportunities in a stress-free, low-pressure environment. The people I’ve met have all been friendly and open about sharing experiences with me.

Part of my goal of increasing engagement is to remind company leadership that LES is a valuable resource. We can help junior employees increase their knowledge base through our events, chapter meetings, and classes. I want managers to say to junior professionals, “I think it would be worthwhile to invest in you. Take an LES course in the basics of licensing or certification preparation. You will also get to meet and network with other professionals.”

In other words, I want to move LES into the spotlight as a thought leader. We have an organization of people with deep, deep knowledge in licensing and IP capital management that is perhaps being overlooked. I think people in industry, government, and academe should look to our members as a resource.

Q: Do you like to travel?

A: Evelyn: I love to travel! In my role at Ericsson, I traveled a lot before the pandemic. I enjoy exploring new places and new cultures, and I love meeting new people and trying new cuisine! I like to think of myself as adventurous, and I’ll try new foods at least once. I have nothing planned yet for 2024, but toward the end of last year, my husband and some friends and I went on a vacation to Japan that revolved entirely around visiting whisky distilleries! It was incredibly fun and hectic; I think we spent 10 nights in six hotels. I would do it again.

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