In late 2018, Honeywell, a multinational conglomerate and producer of aerospace systems and industrial products, officially completed its spin-off of smart home technology company Resideo. For Dina Khaled, that spin-off presented a compelling professional opportunity that enabled her to transition roles from an IP general counsel at Honeywell to vice president and chief IP officer at Resideo.
“Being involved in a spin-off was another opportunity in puzzling, but this time it required me to shape the pieces together of an effective IP department, built from the ground up,” says Khaled. “It demanded that I create a structure that was strategic and lean but responsive to our position in a competitive and litigious market space.” Finding ways to stay on the leading edge with what she’s working on has been a driving force in Khaled’s career, beginning with her interest in intellectual property law.
“I was one of those people who knew very early on that I wanted to be a lawyer,” she recalls. “I started college as a political science major with the idea of pursuing criminal defense work or civil justice issues, but I found myself missing the problem-solving challenges of math and science.”
It was a high school math teacher who made the connection for Khaled between her innate problem-solving ability and the law—and recommended that she consider becoming a patent attorney. That voice gained resonance during her first year of college.
“I pulled out a phone book and found a couple of patent attorneys who were willing to do an informational interview with me. Thanks to those attorneys generously sharing their time and insights with me, I knew I had found my career,” she says of what she discovered to be the best option for both her law ambitions and her left-wired brain. “It was a perfect marriage of interests for me—the critical thinking aspects of the law with the wonder and creativity of engineering and new technology.”
After nine years at a private law firm, Khaled landed at Honeywell and worked as IP counsel for twelve years, covering technologies ranging from space electronics to aviation flight controls to jet propulsion engines. As her career evolved, she dug into new puzzles, such as guiding negotiations with prime contractors in the US government space to protect the intellectual property of proprietary commercial technologies being used in military and space applications. By the time she was ready to explore a new avenue, Honeywell began spinning off Resideo.
Prior to the Resideo spin-off, Khaled worked on the side of Honeywell in negotiating several IP agreements for the Garrett Motion spin-off from Honeywell. When Khaled was given the opportunity to move to Resideo, she used that spin-off experience to help close the IP agreements needed to position Resideo as a key player in the connected home marketplace.
“It was a really exciting time,” Khaled says of the transition. “I quickly began engaging with the key business stakeholders to develop an IP protection strategy and to rationalize our patent portfolio of more than three thousand matters, while simultaneously getting up to speed on the four then active patent infringement suits, kicking off a substantial patent clearance project, negotiating two patent cross-licenses, and implementing a new patent matter management tool. And this was all in the first two months!”
Since the spin-off, her work hasn’t slowed down. Khaled led the IP due diligence for and subsequent integration of three small technology companies. She has overseen the filing of three petitions for inter partes review to challenge the validity of patents asserted against Resideo—all of which were instituted. And she is currently managing Resideo’s defense of a US International Trade Commission action.
“I really enjoy solving puzzles, whether crossword, jigsaw, or legal, and I find that the practice of IP law is full of fun and challenging ones to solve.”
In creating an IP department from scratch, Khaled realized the team would need to be scoped to fit a small- to mid-cap company playing in a very complex IP space. She hired an IP attorney and an IP paralegal to fill out a small team of four employees. Khaled worked with cross-functional leaders to help drive change from legacy processes and policies to those better suited to those of the new Resideo construct and orientation.
Though the broad scope of the role keeps things interesting, Khaled’s favorite part of the job is attacking puzzles head-on while getting to learn about new technologies on a regular basis.
“I really enjoy solving puzzles, whether crossword, jigsaw, or legal, and I find that the practice of IP law is full of fun and challenging ones to solve,” she says. “I also love that I regularly get to learn about new technologies from the experts in those fields—the inventors of those new technologies. Sharing the excitement that the engineers have toward what they’ve created and what they’re contributing to Resideo is one of my favorite parts of being an IP attorney.”
Not only does she appreciate learning from engineers in the field, but Khaled has found she also harbors a passion for teaching.
“I enjoy sharing my knowledge of IP law,” Khaled says. “In my role, there are many opportunities for me to help educate my colleagues in the legal department, as well as on the engineering and the business sides, as to why we do the things we do. As much as I like learning, I like to share knowledge as well.”
Shumaker & Sieffert, PA:
“As an accomplished patent attorney with a broad base of IP experience, Dina had a clear understanding of the role of IP at a technology company like Resideo from the outset. What she has accomplished is truly amazing.”
–Jessica Kwak Rauckman, Principal