2015 Year in Review

In  This  Section

Business Review

Law and Public Policy

A Conversation With

James B. Buda

Executive Vice President, Law and Public Policy and Chief Legal Officer

Law and Public Policy is built to sustain Caterpillar’s world-class reputation. The organization includes the Legal Services Division and the Global Government & Corporate Affairs Division. Responsibilities include legal and compliance services; media relations; internal communications; government affairs advocacy; sustainability consulting; and global environmental, health and safety services. Support for the Caterpillar Foundation is also provided by our group, making sustainable progress possible around the world. We are a global team, focused on serving our customers, communities and countries.

What is Caterpillar doing well as it manages through very difficult market conditions?

If one sees what this great Caterpillar team around the world has done over the last three or four years, it is remarkable. We have a magnificent safety record. Our product quality is solid. Our balance sheet is strong. Our iconic brand around the world continues to be impactful. I have lived through four economic downturns at Caterpillar. During this recent one, we have done more to position the company for the long term than ever before and that is why I am so excited about the future of this organization.

How do we ensure that our values remain relevant around the world?

Caterpillar has never been more global. We are doing business every single day in markets all around the world. In many of those markets, unethical business practices, like corruption and bribery, poor environmental practices or unsafe working conditions, are commonplace. But, in contrast to that, we are also seeing more and more customers who are demanding to know that Caterpillar will adhere to business practices that are grounded in ethics and compliance. We recognize that how we do business is paramount to protect our reputation, and every employee shares the responsibility to protect it. That is why Caterpillar’s Code of Conduct is so important. The actions we take and the decisions we make tell the world who we are. The Code of Conduct serves as a daily reminder of the standards that are expected of everyone at Caterpillar.

How is big data playing a role in areas such as law and public policy?

The Law and Public Policy organization is helping our internal clients be more efficient by streamlining our patent processes. Many of our R&D projects turn into patents – Caterpillar owns over 15,000 patents right now. Some patents are more valuable than others, while others give us a better return on investment than others. The Law and Public Policy Organization is using big data and analytics to develop a value for each of our patents.

How do we use that valuation on patents?

We can use a particular valuation to decide whether it is important to renew a patent when it comes due and pay the fees attributable to it. Or, we can decide whether to file a patent in another country or enforce a patent against one of our competitors. It all depends on the patent’s value, and big data allows us to gauge that, and allows our internal clients to make better and more efficient decisions.