James Conley is clinical professor of technology at Northwestern University. He serves on the faculty of both the Kellogg School of Management and the McCormick School of Engineering at Northwestern University. He is a faculty contributor in the Kellogg Center for Research in Technology & Innovation and serves as a Faculty Fellow at the Segal Design Institute (NU IDEA). At present, he is also serving as a Visiting Professor in the chair of technology and innovation management at the WHU in Germany. Beyond academia, he is an appointed member of the United States Department of Commerce Trademark Public Advisory Committee of the Patent and Trademark Office. Professor Conley’s research investigates the strategic use of intangible assets and intellectual properties to build and sustain competitive advantage. Research sponsors include the National Science Foundation, NASA, FAA, NIST, the Department of Defense, Motorola, Daimler-Chrysler, the OECD and others.
:: awards and honors ::

Professor Conley is a recognized expert and thought leader in the areas of intellectual property, intellectual capital, innovation, and design engineering and his work explores the strategic use of intangible assets and intellectual properties to build and sustain competitive advantage in firms. In addition to being recognized as Best Teacher and Faculty of the Year at home and abroad, his publications have been honored with “Best Paper” commendations from the American Foundry Society, the Society of Automotive Engineers, The Rapid Prototyping Journal and others. In 2013, Professor Conley was inducted into the National Academy of Inventors which currently has 414 members from around the world representing their universities and non-profit research institutes. He was recognized as an inventor with patents issued from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and as a scholar dedicated to advocating intellectual property rights at Northwestern University. He also resides on the editorial board of the international journal Technology and Innovation - Proceedings of the National Academy of Inventors® published by Cognizant Communication Corporation.

Recent Honors / Recognition
United States Patents
Northwestern University 2014 & 2015

Faculty of the Year selections in 2014 and 2015 in Master of Product Design & Development Program

World Intellectual Property Organization 2013

Invited Author for WIPO White Paper on Patents and the Public Domain in Geneva, Switzerland

WHU Otto Beisheim School of Management 2013

Best Teacher Award in Master of Science Program

National Academy of Inventors® 2013

Charter Fellow of National Academy of Inventors® inducted on February 22 2013

Kellogg School of Management 2011 & 2012

Kellogg Certificate of Impact recipient for teaching Intellectual Capital Management in AYs 2011 & 2012

United States Department of Commerce 2008-2012

Appointed to serve on the United States Department of Commerce Patent and Trademark office advisory committee (TPAC) August 11, 2008 to August 2nd again from September 3rd 2009 to September 3rd 2012

World Patent Information 2011

Recognized reviewer of Elsevier Journal

Alexander vonHumboldt Foundation 2008-2011

Selected as Alexander vonHumboldt Foundation Transcoop Fellow, Bonn Germany

Northwestern University 2007

Selected as 2007 Professor of the Year (also in AY2004), Master of New Product Development Program

United States Patents
U.S. Patent #6,165,616 December 26, 2000

Synthetic diamond coatings with intermediate bonding layers and methods of applying such coatings
Co-inventor: Jerome Lemelson
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U.S. Patent #6,099,976 August 8, 2000

Synthetic diamond overlays for gas turbine engine parts having thermal barrier coatings
Co-inventor: Jerome Lemelson
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U.S. Patent #6,083,570 July 4, 2000

Synthetic diamond coatings with intermediate amorphous metal bonding layers and methods of applying such coatings
Co-inventor: Jerome Lemelson
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U.S. Patent #5,786,038 July 28, 1998

Synthetic Diamond Layers Having Wear Resistant Coatings Formed in situ and Methods of Applying such Coatings
Co-inventor: Jerome Lemelson
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U.S. Patent #5,714,202 February 3, 1998

Synthetic Diamond Overlays for Gas Turbine Engine Parts Having Thermal Barrier Coatings
Co-inventor: Jerome Lemelson
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U.S. Patent #5,688,557 November 18, 1997

Method of Depositing Synthetic Diamond Coatings with Intermediate Bonding Layers
Co-inventor: Jerome Lemelson
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U.S. Patent #5,616,372 April 1, 1997

Method of Applying a Wear Resistant Diamond Coating to a Substrate
Co-inventor: Jerome Lemelson
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Published U.S. Patent Application #0087380 A1 July 4, 2002

System and Method for Ameliorating Subcontracting Risk
Co-inventors: W.Wang and J. T. Scarry
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:: recent publications ::

James Conley, Holger Ernst, Nils Omland

This article examines the relationship between patent management and indicators of a firm’s financial and patenting performance. The empirical analyses are based on a sample of 158 technology-based firms from the US and Germany across multiple industries. The article sums up the results of the analyses as such:

  • Patent protection management and patent information management are positively correlated with a firm’s level of financial profitability and the strategic and financial impact of its patent portfolio
  • The two aspects of patent management are key to determining the level of value a firm can create from patents
  • A firm’s technology strategy moderates the relationship between patent protection management and a firm’s performance

View Book »

James Conley, Peter M. Bican, Holger Ernst

The Value Articulation Framework is an innovation strategy framework that assimilates intellectual property management activities with the practices of marketing and strategy. The journal discusses the framework with notable examples that embody the principles as such:

  • The role of all IP regimes and their utility as management levers is central to the articulation construct
  • Optionality embedded in IP regimes can build and sustain competitive advantage
  • The Value Articulation Framework connects IP options, investments and benefits in a unique way to enable growth in existing markets and to lead the transition to new markets

View Book »

James G. Conley, J. Duncan Berry, Laura DeWitt, and Mark Dziersk

The journal attempts to reconcile the logic of strategy, intellectual property, brands, and semiotics to inform design management by developing a framework that finds visual equities at the intersection of strategy and brand meaning.

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James Conley and David Orozco

The article discusses the strategic use of intellectual property rights specifically trademarks by Apple to take hold of the competitive market for media players.
View Book »

Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management Academy of Inventors United States Department of Commerce  World Intellectual Property Organization