At the Office
Today, Phillip’s role as senior manager of government relations takes many shapes. “I spend probably about 40 percent of my time doing what I consider retail lobbying: examining issues that are important to the business, whether it’s tax reform and tax policies, or whether we’re talking about patent reform, or looking at bills that impact the patent system.”
This sort of retail lobbying, says Phillip, often involves him going to Capitol Hill and meeting with members of Congress and their staff, occasionally meeting with regulatory officials in the new administration, and a range of other events and activities.
He then spends another 35 to 40 percent of his time making sure IV is visible in the right places, such as at industry conferences (when we caught up with him recently, he was at the Center for the Protection of Intellectual Property’s Fifth Annual Fall Conference, “Real Intellectual Property Reform”).
Another huge project for Phillip, starting in 2016, has been organizing the first two Intellectual Ventures Expos on Capitol Hill. “In an ideal world,” he says, “it would be perfect if we were able to get every member of Congress and their staffers over to the IV Lab in Bellevue to see what we do on a day-to-day basis. Obviously, that’s not feasible, so I said, ‘Well, the next best thing is to bring some of the Lab to D.C. and show them what we’ve got.’ So we did. We took up space in one of the larger ballrooms on Capitol Hill on the House side and literally flew in the photonic fence, technology from various spinouts like Evolv and Pivotal [Commware] and Kymeta and TerraPower, and in kind of a science fair expo format, opened it up to the entire Hill and the general public. And we had tremendous success.”
Both expos were filled to capacity, and that success was a big part of what earned Phillip one of IV’s annual awards recognizing employees in 2016. “Yeah, that was a great surprise to me,” he says. “I was not expecting that, and honestly, it’s really a team effort. It takes a lot of work to pull off bringing that kind of equipment to Capitol Hill. The security checkpoints, the protocol to follow—it’s really a gigantic team effort that involved a lot of people.”
The 2018 expo is set for May 10, and Phillip is already looking forward to the ‘wow’ factor. “My favorite part of my work is wowing people,” he says. “We show someone the type of technology we’re working on, or are capable of, or something in our pipeline for commercialization, and people are like, ‘Wow.’ People literally say ‘wow.’ It’s just very innovative.”