Charging Up a Partnership to Power Business Innovation

A POWERFUL COLLABORATION:

Longtime McDermott client NuCurrent, one of the primary providers of wireless power solutions for a broad array of industries, recently topped the Crain’s Chicago Business “Most Innovative Companies 2019” list.

Crain’s partnered with respected patent analytics firm Ocean Tomo in creating the rankings, and it’s plain to see how NuCurrent rose to the top: With around 30 engineers and 10 years of experience, they have found success in a field where even traditional powerhouses like Apple struggle to get products to market.

Shortly after Crain’s published their list, NuCurrent CEO Jacob Babcock recognized his trusted advisors on the McDermott intellectual property team, led by Amol Parikh, for the “key part” they played in helping the company secure the award. McDermott has worked with NuCurrent through their IP lifecycle and filed every patent application, with more than 85 currently granted or pending globally.

“As our innovations in wireless power have surged and taken hold in the market, we have focused on steady, conscientious growth of our portfolio,” Jacob said. “Getting this recognition has been an opportunity to pause and see what we’ve achieved, and I’m proud of our team’s accomplishment.”

MAKING THE CONNECTION:

NuCurrent’s forward-thinking leadership selected McDermott as the company’s IP team in 2010, recognizing the need to advance and protect their promising new business innovations.

At the time, an experiential learning class had connected then-law student Jacob with graduate students at Northwestern University in a variety of other disciplines, from medicine to engineering. For an assignment, they designed a wireless power transmitter and business plan and presented it to investors.

By the time Jacob graduated, he and his team were looking for an intellectual property firm to help their growing company build its patent portfolio and protect its intellectual property. With degrees from prestigious electrical engineering programs, a business-first perspective and deep experience in both patent prosecution and litigation, the McDermott team proved to be the right fit for NuCurrent.

“At the end of the day, patents are tools for protecting intellectual property,” Jacob pointed out. “Having a team that handles patent litigation and licensing is a huge asset for us, because they understand the whole picture. They’re thinking about our patent portfolio with the end in mind.”

In 2010, McDermott worked with NuCurrent to file a patent relating to technology in an expiring provisional patent application they had filed a year earlier. After the initial filing, NuCurrent worked with the McDermott team to file eight patents relating to several key pieces of technology they had developed.

ONGOING OBJECTIVES:

The initial patent application was the beginning of an ongoing 10-year relationship. During that time, as NuCurrent has grown and evolved, Jacob has continued to rely on his team at McDermott.

As trusted advisors and partners invested in NuCurrent’s success, we understand their business needs as an early-stage company. In addition to providing legal acumen and patent counsel, we help them navigate their budget by providing research and other non-billable value-adds.

Above all, we make it our mission to help NuCurrent move faster than the competition, capitalizing on opportunity and looking around corners to protect both current and possible future uses of the technology they develop.

As an example, in 2013, Jacob recognized the potential for wireless power in the consumer electronics market and turned NuCurrent’s marketplace scope beyond its original focus on implanted medical devices. In consultation with his team at McDermott to determine patent portfolio strategy, he decided to take a long-range view and file continuation applications on a number of the company’s existing patent applications, along with continuing prosecution of the original application.

DIG DEEPER:

Because NuCurrent is an agile, innovative company, they file a high volume of patent applications relative to their size. Prior to filing new applications, their McDermott representation in IP meets with the company’s engineers for a demonstration and explanation of the technology.

With their backgrounds in engineering, NuCurrent’s McDermott team members have been able to develop a deep understanding of their client’s technology, goals and competitive landscape and build a foundation of trust.

“We’ve had different corporate counsel through every fundraising round we’ve done; there’s no stickiness to them,” Jacob said. “The reason McDermott has been sticky is because of our team. It comes down to the relationship we’ve developed, their historic understanding of our portfolio and their ability to help us get the most value out of working together.”

The McDermott IP team’s business-first perspective and technical skill allows them to help NuCurrent strategize effectively within their budget as they build a robust patent portfolio, protecting the valuable intellectual property that keeps NuCurrent on the cutting edge of the wireless power solutions space.