Microsoft has poached the intellectual property (IP) chief of rival technology giant IBM. Marshall Phelps leaves his post as vice president for IP and licensing at IBM to manage Microsofts entire IP portfolio from its West Coast headquarters. "Intellectual property is becoming even more important to the technology industry and to Microsoft's continued innovation," said Brad Smith, senior vice president and general counsel at Microsoft. "As a company we are receiving increasing requests from those who wish to license our IP rights. Marshall's vast experience will be instrumental to managing the company's broad intellectual property portfolio and in working with others in our industry in a collaborative way." Phelps becomes Microsofts vice president and deputy general counsel for IP. He will manage the portfolio of 3,000 US patents and over 11,000 trademarks across the globe. During his 28-year career at IBM Phelps played a key role in building IBM's telecommunications policy, industry relations, patent licensing program and intellectual property portfolio development. In addition to his legal work, Phelps established IBM's Tokyo headquarters and served as director of government relations in Washington DC.