Marshall PhelpsFormer vice president of intellectual property at Microsoft
IP Hall of Fame inductee in 2006
Marshall Phelps put IP on the corporate map. He forced senior managements (and Wall Street) to regard IP not as a legal overhead, but as a profit centre. He took IBM from a few million dollars in IP-related annual revenues in the late 1980s to over a billion dollars in a little over a decade. He helped to popularise the notion that everything a company owns can be licensed at the right price and time. Phelps also helped to establish the virtuous circle of using patent and other licensing revenue to fund R&D activities to create more product and licensing opportunities. At the urging of Bill Gates, he came out of retirement to head Microsoft’s IP strategy and help establish the company as an emerging patent leader, and to expand upon its copyright and trademark successes.
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