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In-House Counsel: Michael Ouyang

A would-be career in electrical engineering took a fortuitous turn for Mike Ouyang once he got a taste of actual engineering work.
As an undergrad electrical engineering student, Ouyang worked summers at Honeywell, but when it came time to forge a career, he said, “I realized I liked engineering school more than I liked being an engineer.”
He was able to parlay his tech expertise into a law career when a job at Merchant & Gould led him to attend law school.
“I found that I like working with really smart people and learning about technology,” said Ouyang.
As vice president of intellectual property at telecom provider CommScope, Ouyang doesn’t generally do the type of work that comes to IP lawyers in private practice, such as litigating over trademark violations or drafting patent applications.
“My role is more being part of the business team and putting my IP law viewpoint into their dealings,” Ouyang said. “I work with engineers to figure out what they should be protecting. I also work with them on formulating licensing deals.”
That expertise recently helped Ouyang turn what might have been a big loss for CommScope into a win. The company had developed a proprietary product for voice and cable providers. But a new cable standard prevented the company from having the technology to itself.
A little ingenuity turned what would have been a setback into a windfall.
“We were able to take our patent portfolio and bring it to wireless companies,” he said. “We ended up selling the technology to HTC Corp. for $75 million.”

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