In the years following the frightful Wall Street meltdown of 2008, a quasi-public tech investment and development agency has been trying to add some new sizzle to Connecticut's economy.
The agency is called Connecticut Innovations, and Greenwich intellectual property lawyer Joseph J. Kaliko was recently appointed by Governor Dannel Malloy to CI's Board of Directors. He's one of five attorneys on the board of the agency, which offers advice to start-up businesses, tries to lure innovative firms from out of state, distributes seed money to entrepreneurs and attempts to identify other potential investors.
Kaliko said that his vision "was, does and will remain this: when the state invests money, I think we should be looking at jobs, in addition to looking at the return of investment and the return on investment for the taxpayer."
Aside from his new position with CI, Kaliko is president and CEO of Gaming Innovations International, a company that designs unique gaming products and services for lotteries and their suppliers worldwide. The gaming industry is only the latest phase of a career in intellectual property and corporate law that dates back to the 1970s.
Before he went to law school, Kaliko started out as a software engineer at Bell Laboratories, where he did research and development for the federal government. He worked on the technology the country uses in wartime today, combining the forces of radar and missiles.
"At that time, software wasn't patentable," Kaliko said. "So, I started learning telecommunications technology." He went to law school while maintaining his position at Bell Laboratories, later leaving to work for the Ohio-based North Electric Company and then at Schlumberger Ltd., an oilfield services company that at the time owned the Heath Company, famous for its build-it-yourself radio kits.
Kaliko initially worked in the radio division, then ascended to the role of acting general counsel at Schlumberger, where he said he "bridged the gap" between general and patent law.
His work included an assignment in Paris, which hosts one of Schlumberger's worldwide offices. "After a couple years in Paris, I really wanted to come back to the States," he said, "And I did, and I went off on my own."
He opened his own IP practice in the early 1980s in Stamford. For 30 or so years in his private practice, Kaliko serviced mainly Fortune 500 companies, such as IBM and Honeywell.
"I took on some individual work and that's probably where one of the most interesting things in my career happened," he said. "In the early 90s, I got involved with a fellow who had a concept of using the Internetat that time, it was called 'the Super Highway'to allow people to gamble from their homes."