SCS had an opportunity to speak with our first visiting scholar, Martin A. Bader, PhD, a leading global authority on technology management and entrepreneurship, intellectual property management, and particularly European and Swiss patent law. Dr. Bader is affiliated with THI Business School of Technische Hochschule Ingolstadt, Germany, and the University of St. Gallen, Switzerland, and is a founding partner of an innovation and intellectual property management advisory group, BGW AG St. Gallen.
SCS: You are regarded as one of the top 300 intellectual property strategists in the world. To get a better understanding of what an intellectual property strategist does, could you share one of your experiences?
Dr. Bader: It's about viewing and managing your intellectual property as an integral part of your business – using it for open and common good purposes as well as for protective and exclusive purposes and respecting the intellectual property of others. However, in many industries and innovation clusters, intellectual property rights are still treated as an administrative and costly asset class, or something that you can just grab from others such as start-ups and their investors. This means treating their intellectual property as something valuable and as part of their investment and growth plan. Together with a colleague, I have just edited a new book on managing intellectual property for start-ups, which also includes two Canadian contributions, one from a team of authors in Montréal, the other from BDC Capital, Toronto
SCS: What do you hope to accomplish while you are here at the McGill School of Continuing Studies?
Dr. Bader: It is really a great gift to have the opportunity to spend some time on-site at McGill SCS, to meet you in person, and to learn about your people and your rich and diverse culture, in your country, in your province of Québec, in Montréal, at McGill and within SCS; and of course, about how education, teaching, research, and service work here in comparison to Germany and Switzerland, where I currently live.
SCS: Our learners come from different cultural backgrounds. As someone who has lived and worked in different countries, what advice can you provide those of our learners who are newcomers to Quebec?
Dr. Bader: I think it is important and very fruitful to make a cultural connection and try to understand the people, the country, and their history, their aspirations and dreams; in your work life, in your personal life and possibly in your spiritual life as well. For me, this also includes learning and constantly improving your language – In Québec, that's probably two or even three languages – participating in social, cultural and sporting activities and events, engaging in community service and volunteer work. The sooner, the better. Don't give up, even if there are setbacks; maybe even make a plan and set specific goals to make it work and keep the passion going.
SCS: You previously worked as Vice President and Chief Intellectual Property Officer at Infineon Technologies in Munich. You then became a professor. What inspired this change?
Dr. Bader: From a personal perspective, I decided to start a family – I followed my then wife to settle back in Switzerland. I wanted to run my own business and not just deal with operational and monetary tasks. I did my Ph.D. at the University of St. Gallen in Switzerland and spun off an advisory firm for innovation and intellectual property management with two partners. It turned out to be very inspiring and fulfilling to step back into academia, and I really love it and have decided to stick with it; it’s so great to work with purpose and to pass on something – hopefully also inspiring – to the next generations.
SCS: Many of our SCS learners have decided to switch careers much like you did in becoming a professor. Could you share some of the challenges you faced in making that switch and what suggestions you might have to them?
I have the impression that people here are generally very courageous, especially when it comes to career planning and entrepreneurial thinking and acting. It is your self-confidence that makes you unleash your self-efficacy to initiate change and achieve opportunities with your own hands, helping hands, and a dose of luck. Believe in yourself, in your possibilities, be a lifelong learner, work on your ethics, be a good person, give back, strive to leave your place in a better state than you found it.
SCS: What are your impressions of Montreal, McGill, and SCS so far?
Dr. Bader: Thank you so much for your warm and friendly welcome and support! It is so rewarding to meet and talk with you. I really appreciate it. If there is anything I can do to give back or contribute, please let me know. I would be happy to support you in any way I can. McGill and SCS are such great places with great minds, openness, and integrity. I experience Montréal as a truly international and global metropolis of cultural richness and tolerance, combining what for us is French emotionality with English politeness and the American dream of thinking and acting big. Not to mention your world-class resilience in snowstorms like today’s, which I can attest to around the McGill SCS tower.