Sen Chai is a doctoral candidate in the Technology and Operations Management (TOM) unit at Harvard Business School. Her research interests are the emergence, diffusion and commercialization of creative breakthroughs. Her current project focuses on understanding where scientific breakthroughs come from and which scientists are more likely to discover them using a hybrid methodology.
Prior to Harvard, Sen worked in the San Francisco and Seattle offices of Deloitte Consulting LLP as a consultant helping clients optimize their business processes. She received a B.Eng. in Electrical Engineering from McGill University and a M.S. in Management Science and Engineering from Stanford University.
Sen grew up in Beijing, Paris, New York City and Montreal, and is fluent in Mandarin Chinese and French. She enjoys traveling, sailing, and skiing during her free time.
Office of Technology Transfer - Shanghai Institutes for Biological Sciences
Gordon Zong is trying to teach Chinese universities and research institutes how to do effective technology transfer and IP licensing, but he is trying to do it in an environment with weak property rights and an underdeveloped support infrastructure. As the managing director of the Office of Technology Transfer at the Shanghai Institutes for Biological Sciences, he works with researchers at the forefront of biology and biotech, yet he faces seemingly insurmountable obstacles to getting the technology commercialized within domestic Chinese companies, so he has turned to global multinational pharma companies, for now. The purpose of the case is to help present and future managers at global multinationals who have responsibility for R&D strategy to understand some of the complexities of the Chinese intellectual property environment so that they can build effective participation strategies for their organizations. Understanding the misaligned incentives that result in the production of junk patents and the challenges of patent enforcement, as well as the direction of change are vital, because as the Chinese system evolves quickly, the implications of those changes will have important commercial consequences.
Keywords: Multinational Firms and Management;
Business and Government Relations;
Research and Development;
Alnylam Pharmaceuticals: Building Value from the IP Estate
The learning objective of this case is to help students recognize the interplay between intellectual property (IP) rights and corporate strategy. We do this by examining what is a fairly atypical circumstance today in which a single firm is able to secure what it perceives to be a frontier IP "estate" that blocks competitors from "practicing" in a significant part of the field. Those who elect to sign a license agreement must pay a high license fee and therefore help to fund the company's R&D. The company, meanwhile, must balance the immediate benefit of non-dilutive financing obtainable from the license fees vs. enabling a potential future competitor. The case setting is a lawsuit over a seemingly arcane issue: whether one of the co-owners of a key patent application is properly prosecuting the application. Understanding the issue requires students to progressively build up an understanding of some key aspects of U.S. patent law. Then by piecing together the strategy of the company and how it is driven by its IP position, students can understand why the litigation represents such a high stakes gamble.
Lawsuits and Litigation;