Tim Dennison ‘05 has accepted a new position as an Intellectual Property Counsel for Philips International B.V. based in Eindhoven, the Netherlands, about ninety minutes south of Amsterdam.
Dennison was most recently in private practice in the area of intellectual property and corporate transactions in San Diego, in addition to being the Supervising Attorney at TJSL’s USPTO Trademark Law School Clinic.
And he loves his new position with Philips International.
“It’s a great place to work – very international.” Dennison said. “My office partner is German, I have one English and one Dutch supervisor and my department has people from 11 or 12 countries. Every day at lunch you can hear a multitude of languages and learn about the places you just have to visit on your next vacation.”
The road to Eindhoven wasn’t necessarily a straightforward one though.
Dennison spent the better part of a decade working as an engineer and engineering manager in Southeast Asia before going back to school.
Dennison has an electrical engineering undergraduate from the University of Arizona, an MBA from UCLA, project management certification from Stanford, and a J.D. from Thomas Jefferson. When he entered TJSL, he already had a strong background in technology and law school gave him the legal skills and experience that he needed to practice intellectual property law.”
“Thomas Jefferson gave me a strong foundation in both general intellectual property principles and licensing,” said Dennison. “This, dovetailed with my technical background, allowed me to start work in IP while I was still in law school. Immediately following my graduation from Thomas Jefferson, I took the time to cross-certify as a UK solicitor. This made my application more attractive to Philips and, though based in Eindhoven, I will be doing much of my transactional work in England.”
Dennison’s company is a good fit for his skills and experience.
Royal Philips of the Netherlands is a diversified health and well-being company, focused on improving people’s lives through meaningful innovation in the areas of Healthcare, Consumer Lifestyle and Lighting. Headquartered in the Netherlands, Philips posted 2012 sales of EUR 24.8 billion and employs approximately 118,000 employees with sales and services in more than 100 countries. The company is a leader in cardiac care, acute care and home healthcare, energy efficient lighting solutions and new lighting applications, as well as diverse consumer electronic products.
“I’m currently assigned to Lighting,” Dennison said. “My ‘task’ is to initiate investigative studies to identify IP business opportunities, and define and execute licensing programs. I lead or participate in projects to realize the potential value of new business cases, including negotiations with third parties.
“And yes, that’s right out of the manual. Basically, we’re doing tech transfer and assertion work based on the Philips IP portfolio. I’m also hoping to do a little patent prosecution to get my European qualifications, but that’s down the road a bit.
“This position requires a technical background to understand the subject matter, a business background to identify and create the business case justifying the expenditure and a law degree to draft and negotiate the final license. I also lived in Europe when I was younger, so I speak a bit of French and German. The position doesn’t require me to speak anything other than English, but the exposure to living and working in Europe already makes the transition smoother for me, and being able to communicate with people in their own languages is important, culturally so, at the very least.
“I often get asked how a U.S. attorney can get hired by a European company to do transactional work. I confess I don’t know, other than I have a very broad background, both educationally and professionally.
“My advice to current students is try to stay as broad in your interests and experiences, for as long as you can. Take part in as many study abroad programs, internships, externships, and even visiting student opportunities as you can. You may have to specialize, at some point, if you’re gunning for a particular job with a particular company, but keep your options open for as long as you can.”