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Session D

Navigating Risk: Why Today’s “Clean Deals” Include a Focus on Intellectual Property

Presented By: Aon / Harness IP

Forging an effective go-to-market strategy means more than just preparing for due diligence by getting your company’s finances and operations in order. More often, it includes a crucial role for IP in mitigating potential challenges to getting a deal done. Join a panel of active corporate dealmakers and veteran M&A advisors as they explore the seismic shift towards a solutions-oriented approach in due diligence, uncovering strategies to successfully de-risk deals and how IP fits into that equation.  


Rebecca Newman
Co-Leader U.S. Risk Transaction Advisory Services



Joseph Walsh
Harness IP

Joe began his legal career as in-house counsel to a leading petrochemical company. Since then, he has had the great privilege of serving as a trusted advisor to a variety of multinational clients — frequently setting up office within his client’s facilities and working side-by-side with in-house counsel. Joe strives to see matters and legal issues through the eyes of his clients, specifically taking into account their objectives and resources. Joe is committed to delivering high-quality legal advice that makes good business sense at a cost that doesn’t surprise.

Joe develops and executes large and small-scale IP strategies alike in virtually every part of the industrialized world. He facilitates these projects utilizing carefully selected, high-caliber and reliable foreign counsel — all of whom he has worked with personally. Joe negotiates and drafts a full array of IP agreements, including sophisticated research, joint-development, technology-transfer and licensing agreements. He delivers legal and business solutions to even the most complicated patent, trademark, copyright, trade secret and related litigation and licensing matters. Joe has particular experience in merger, acquisition and divestiture transactions, and he has a reputation for conducting IP due diligence investigations on-time and in-budget.



Gregory Billhartz
President & Chief Strategy Officer
Emprise Group, Inc.

Gregory A. Billhartz currently serves as President and Chief Strategy Officer of Emprise Group, Inc., a 100% employee-owned ESOP holding company focused on owning and investing in a diverse group of middle-market businesses. Mr. Billhartz also serves as President of Vivos Holdings, LLC, a consumer packaged goods subsidiary of Emprise Group focused on providing household and personal care products to retail and industrial customers and consumers.

Prior to joining Emprise Group in September 2020, Mr. Billhartz served in a variety of roles, including Vice President, Deputy General Counsel and Corporate Secretary, Vice President-Legal, Human Resources and Communications, and Deputy General Counsel of Bunge Limited, a global food and agriculture company, from January 2018 until September 2020.

From 2013 to 2017, Mr. Billhartz was Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer and General Counsel of Maschhoff Family Foods, a privately-owned food and agriculture company.  From 2009 to 2013, Mr. Billhartz served as Corporate Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary of Ralcorp Holdings, Inc., a publicly-traded private label food manufacturer. Earlier in his career, Mr. Billhartz worked in private legal practice at Bryan Cave and in public accounting at PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Mr. Billhartz holds a Bachelor of Science in Accountancy degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and a Juris Doctor degree from St. Louis University.  Mr. Billhartz is a licensed attorney and a certified public accountant.


John Groves
Vice President & Group Leader, Intellectual Property



Conference Location

36 Forest Club Drive
Clarkson Valley, MO 63005
Tel: (636) 227-5030