Each early-stage technology firm will eventually need to hire in-house counsel, according to experienced entrepreneur and general counsel, James Cullem. The candidate may may hold one of several titles such as Senior Counsel, General Counsel or Chief Counsel. Regardless of his or her designation, this professional must be qualified to manage a wide variety of legal decisions and activities for the firm. In the opinion of James Cullem, it’s essential for company management to consider the skills and attributes of each candidate, in order to determine which one will best serve all the constituents of the organization.
James Cullem explains that an in-house attorney may be spending ample time on intellectual property, patents and other related contracts and licenses. To that end, he or she should be registered to practice patent law by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office. The person selected for In-House Counsel must be a registered patent attorney if managing intellectual property is going to be a substantial part of the attorney’s responsibility.
Patent attorneys are required to have a particular area of technological focus, according to James Cullem. Beyond holding a Juris Doctorate degree, they must have substantial academic credentials and work experience in their area of technology specialization, and further pass a difficult test to receive registration before the Patent and Trademark Office. Intellectual property is always an important element for firms seeking a competitive advantage. An in-house attorney should be qualified to clearly address any issues that arise and provide trustworthy guidance.
Filing a patent on useful technology is an extremely complex process that requires experienced help from a trustworthy registered patent attorney. An in-house attorney must be well equipped to inform the company’s Board and executive management of potential ill-advised or illegal activities, as well as provide guidance on routes to best outcomes, risk management, and attainment of desired goals. James Cullem points out that some executives and Board members of companies may incur personal liability as a result of poorly researched and/or executed decisions, so transparency is best for shareholders and the company as a whole.