Five minutes with ... Kasim Alfalahi, Avanci
Each week Managing IP speaks to a different IP professional about their life and career
Welcome to the latest instalment of Managing IP’s ‘Five minutes with’ series, where we learn more about IP lawyers and professionals on a personal as well as a professional level. This time we have Kasim Alfalahi, founder and CEO of Avanci, who is based in the US.
Someone asks you at a party what you do for a living. What do you say?
I help inventors around the world to be recognised and rewarded for their innovations while making it easy for companies making products and services to add their own innovations and bring exciting new products to the world.
Talk us through a typical working day.
My morning starts with calls with customers or colleagues in Asia before I head into the office. I'll make a coffee and chat with colleagues and then have more calls or online meetings with current and future partners in Europe and the US. I spend over half my time speaking with existing or potential licensees, understanding what they need, and trying to find ways to create solutions that work for them. Some days, I finish up by talking with colleagues in our market units and our partners in Asia.
What are you working on at the moment?
We've just launched our 5G connected vehicle licensing programme. Talking to automakers about joining while we have an early licensee incentive is important. I'm thrilled that Mercedes-Benz and BMW Group have joined within a few weeks of launch. We are also looking at new programmes for other categories of products in the internet of things, but more about those later!
Does one big piece of work usually take priority or are you juggling multiple things?
We have a broad range of programmes and projects. I think any CEO needs to be on top of all of those and have the chance to work, as I am fortunate to, with a talented and motivated team of experts on the details.
What is the most exciting aspect of your role and what is the most stressful?
First, it's exciting to see the vision we had come to life, making life simpler for our licensees, and delivering a return for our licensors on the innovation of their many inventors.
Next, it's seeing that the business we created is thriving. We are a global company, with over 70 people, more than a dozen nationalities, and living in a dozen countries around the world. I'm excited to work with them every day.
I'm fortunate that little causes me stress. I enjoy tennis, but I do find watching Alcaraz play Djokovic stressful!
Tell us the key characteristics that make a successful IP lawyer.
Well, I'm not a lawyer, but I know quite a few! I think, as with any profession, they need to know their subject, be great at listening and really hear what they are being told, and then be laser-focused on finding solutions.
What is the most common misconception about IP?
That it's all about the law. IP is a business asset, just like any other, and needs to be managed as such, whether you are creating it or using it. It is an important asset, as it underpins the creativity of so many businesses.
What or who inspires you?
My colleagues, my wonderful wife and my kids all inspire me to be a better leader, husband, and father.
If you weren't an IP lawyer, what would you be doing?
Well, as said earlier, I'm not an IP lawyer! I'm an engineer, a businessperson, an entrepreneur, and I'm fortunate to have lived and worked in many different countries and cultures. Honestly, I can't think of anything I'd like to do more than I am doing now.
Well, maybe a party planner. I love to create exceptional and memorable experiences for people. And it’s a job that requires work to get many different groups of people, such as venue staff, decorators, musicians, and catering staff, to connect, understand each other and work together towards a shared goal.
Any advice you would give your younger self?
Find something you believe in, and can feel passionate about, and change the world with. I love the creativity of inventors and how their work has transformed our daily lives. And listen, listen, listen to learn all you can - never stop being curious.