Roger Tu, former senior vice president of MiiCs & Partners, joined the Marconi Group yesterday. This looks to be the first big ticket Asian appointment made by Marconi and demonstrates the firm’s ability to attract top talent.
Tu joins an organisation that, as well as former Ericsson chief IP officer Kasim Alfalahi at its head, has a roster of senior executives with stellar track records at businesses such as Motorola, Google, Qualcomm, Texas Instruments and Lenovo. This will not be the first time that Tu has worked with Alfalahi - prior to his time at MiiCs, he was a part of Ericsson’s licensing team, based in Beijing.
IAM also understands that Gilbert Wu – previously vice president of WISPRO – joined MiiCs & Partners as senior vice-president yesterday. Wu has long experience in M&A and IP transactions.
Over recent years, Tu has made a name for himself in patent monetisation in Asia, particularly in the greater China region. During his years at MiiCs & Partners, the patent monetisation arm of Foxconn, his mission was to generate revenue from Foxconn’s patent portfolios, including the assets previously owned by Sharp, after the Japanese company’s acquisition by Foxconn. Sharp signed up as an Avanci member in July 2017.
Avanci is the Internet of Things licensing platform which is part of the Marconi Group. Since it was launched in September 2016, Avanci, has also brought ZTE, Sony, Panasonic and – most recently - IP Bridge on board from Asia.
The appointment signals just how important the Marconi Group believes expansion in Asia, and China in particular, to be. It also comes just months after another Marconi entity – Teletry – signed a deal with BlackBerry to exclusively license out patents in its mobile devices portfolio; again, you’d expect there to be a lot of takers for these in Asia. Tu could well play an important role there, as well.
It is likely that Tu will be based in either Shenzhen or Beijing. Deciding which to work from is not an easy call to make for an industry-led licensing platform trying to establish a presence in China.
Shenzhen is the high-tech and innovation hub of the country, full of big tech companies and IoT SMEs that are key to Marconi’s plans. However, Beijing is China’s political and regulatory centre. It’s from there that key regulators will be closely watching how Avanci and other patent pools develop – being close to them could prove to be very advantageous.