Vision for an Intellectual Property Firm
At Ryuka, we encourage each of our members to realize his/her potential, not only when it directly benefits the firm but also for the sake of personal growth. This is because we believe that having the opportunity to fulfill one’s personal goals is a key component in being motivated to help fulfill the goals of others. One truly motivated person is an inspiration. A team of such motivated people can bring to life the dreams of clients throughout the world.
The majority of our patent attorneys and engineers have academic research experience or industry experience, many of our members being themselves prolific inventors. More important than the technical knowledge gained by this sort of experience is the deep appreciation that our members have for the creative process and the understanding that our members have of the various needs of clients in diverse R&D environments. A shared background between a team member and a client helps foster the kind of intimate collaboration that is indispensable for achieving effective IP protection.
At a deeper level, our team is composed of exceptional people. When it comes to hiring, we believe that a candidate’s experience and ability is not enough, and that the candidate should also demonstrate responsibility and honesty. These traits of character are necessary because of the great trust our clients must place in us.
It is the trust that our clients place in us that provides the best indicator of the value of our service. For this reason, our team members are evaluated not based on the number of hours they spend or their IP-related application turnover, but on the total satisfaction they bring to our clients. Job quality is thoroughly reviewed using flexible standards to fully take into account client satisfaction. Since each client has unique needs, we encourage our team members to maintain close communication with each client and regularly assess whether each client’s expectations are being met.
One of the great motivating forces in a workplace is the feeling of empowerment that comes with responsibility. To help cultivate this feeling, we allow our team members to freely redefine their roles as the needs of their clients evolve. As more trust is given to one of our attorneys, the client may look to the attorney not only for legal and technical insights, but for practical business advice as well. By encouraging our members to take on these new challenges and responsibilities, we benefit the client not once but twice, as our team member’s own sense of fulfillment will improve his/her performance going forward.
EDUCATION AND COLLABORATION
As the saying goes, there is always room for improvement. At RYUKA, we take this idea seriously and seek to increase our knowledge and skill on a daily basis by holding regular educational lectures and promoting a culture of collaboration.
Our office holds frequent intermediate and upper level lectures on international IP topics, with presenters from all over the world. As well as affording our guest lecturers an opportunity to connect with various Japanese corporate attendees, whom we are happy to invite, these talks are a way for our own members to stay on top of current IP issues. In addition to these formal lectures, we ask all of our members to prepare and give internal presentations at their biweekly small team meetings, on topics ranging from recent legal developments to specific points of interest in current cases.
While providing large formal lectures and small internal presentations is one way to improve our team, we believe that it is at least as important to promote one-on-one and small group collaboration. To this end, we take a somewhat different approach than most U.S. firms. Rather than work in individual offices, we have an open floor plan. While our office layout is spacious enough so as not to hinder quiet study, it is almost completely open, with minimal use of internal walls. In such an environment, it is very common for our attorneys to ask even the smallest questions to nearby team members, questions that in another office might not warrant a walk down a hallway or a knock on a door. When such questions turn into lengthy discussions, as is often the case, a collaborative workspace or small meeting table can be found only a few steps away. Of course, private meeting rooms exist as well, but for those small matters and impromptu discussions we encourage our team to make the most of our open environment. Since so much of learning happens through question and answer and through teaching, creating an environment in which one-on-one and small group collaboration can thrive is vital to our continued improvement.