Paul Adams is a hard man to get hold of. Working in a field that’s all about creation and innovation and ensuring it has some commercial value means there are always projects on the go. “Right now one of the commercialisation projects we’re working on is a financial software service programme with a major bank. It’s an exciting project to work on,” he says.
Paul embarked upon his technology commercialisation career in the late 1990s. Before founding EverEdge IP in 2003, he served as Intellectual Property Manager for Brunswick New Technologies (formerly Navman New Zealand). As one of the world’s leading manufacturers of GPS technology and consumer electronics devices its revenues exceeded $US500 million, and Paul was responsible for a multi-million dollar intellectual property portfolio and budget, managing the outputs of more than 400 engineers and scientists.
He also worked in Silicon Valley, where he co-founded a technology start-up company and raised venture and development capital for New Zealand and US-based ventures. Following the dot.com crash he returned to New Zealand, a major highlight being the development and management of the Icehouse Incubator at the University of Auckland, where he had studied, gaining degrees in Law (Honours), specialising in software licensing law and Arts (Economics and History). “I’ve always had a fascination in intellectual property. It’s a fast growing and fast moving environment, which suits me a lot.”
Paul says there are many brilliant technological ideas out there. Commercialising and protecting them is the only way it can produce a successful business.“Understanding the strengths and weaknesses of IP underpins your technology,” he says. “If you don’t have a successful technical creation, no one will want to copy it. And if you do have a success, but haven’t grasped the IP, it either ends up being stolen or you fail to get full value for it. I’ve also seen those who are so intently focused on protecting their creation, they miss genuine commercial opportunities that do arise.
Having a successful product, strong IP and the commercial drive is the only place your business can live in.”
While there are some aspects of Silicon Valley he misses, he has no regrets about his decision to return home. “There is a lot of innovation in New Zealand and the type of business we do means our relative geographical isolation is not an impediment. In fact, two thirds of our revenue is now from off-shore,” he says.
Paul deals with partner Richard Ashby at Gilligan Sheppard and says his advice has helped with the direction of EverEdge IP. “Richard’s advice is clear and easy to understand. He’s got a good strategic head on him.”