Essential Components in an IP Strategic Plan for Innovative Enterprises
Business leaders are always looking for a better future for their employees and investors. But if you lead a company that innovates, often the future is inextricably tied to the intellectual property (IP) portfolio you develop and curate over time. As your organization innovates, your market position and competitive edge are molded by your growing IP assets. How then, can you best capitalize on that IP? It comes down to creating a plan that protects and optimizes your valuable intellectual property. In this article, we’ll explore several key components to establishing a strategic plan that will maximize the benefit of your IP for years to come.
If IP is an important part of your organization, the first step should be to educate employees on your IP policy and its significance to your mission and objectives. Typically, researchers and other experts who develop IP will at least loosely understand how to protect company IP. Still, there are opportunities for coordination and education around the entire process. Researchers who understand your entire IP policy will be better equipped to communicate with IP specialists and others who are necessary to the process. For those in your organization who don’t develop IP directly, education is necessary to protect the innovation and progress made by researchers and developers. A misfiled form or casual remark about proprietary technology can easily compromise IP. If an IP portfolio helps drive your business, your employees can’t be left in the dark about it; they are your frontline, and they need to understand the whole picture.
Monetization is what business is all about, but when a company focuses on developing IP, sometimes capitalizing on that property becomes secondary to the development of a growing IP profile. An IP portfolio isn’t something only to be grown, but also to be managed and curated. A strategy to identify possible infringement or potential partners to properly monetize your IP is critical. Cross licensing and product development from an IP portfolio are certainly lucrative pursuits, and a comprehensive strategy will help those who manage your market influence identify such opportunities and know how best to capitalize on them.
Researchers often build on others’ work to create new technologies and tools. While your researchers aren’t infringing on the IP of other companies by replicating research, it’s important that they have all the information they can. Academic publications and industry news are essential reading for your researchers. New patent applications and literature give your researchers a level playing field with competitors in the industry.
Researchers aren’t the only one who needs the most complete information possible, however. Managers involved in charting your IP trajectory can learn much through publications about new patents and emerging trends in the industry. From this, they can chart a better path to develop and utilize IP in a more efficient and profitable manner.
While there are many ways to utilize your company’s valuable IP portfolio, a comprehensive strategy on the best way to proceed with your assets is essential. Utilizing IP can yield big gains for your company, but missteps can be huge liabilities. Selling, licensing, collaborating, donating, or leveraging market power can be approached to individual IP assets, but a comprehensive plan is important to view the long-term results of those choices. Selling, licensing, or donating an asset can’t be easily undone, and exercising market power can have future implications that should be carefully deliberated.
In the 1980s, for instance, Apple adopted a hard-line strategy of market power by controlling user experience end-to-end and almost entirely excluding third-party collaboration, resulting in short-term gains but ultimately being overwhelmed by Microsoft in long-term implications. Conversely, Apple’s new formula of allowing collaborators onto their platform while strictly regulating others’ applications and systems has worked much better for them in the past decade than their previous strategy.
IP can be innately complex, and it can require a good deal of expertise to navigate a landscape where millions of innovators all over the world are continuously working towards the development of their respective IP portfolios. Not only is it beneficial to have systems in place to simplify keeping up with the competition, but any optimization that can be achieved to give a competitive edge may yield massive gains. Patent searches and IP databases, though necessary, can be a huge time drain for both researchers and managers. Intuitive software and tools for these tasks can save time and give a wealth of analytics data that can allow more effort to be invested in IP development and more agile adaptation to lucrative market opportunities. These and other tools can optimize your IP strategy to great effect for relatively low investment.
A strategic plan for your valuable IP is as important as developing the IP in the first place. After all the effort put into developing, refining, and protecting your IP portfolio, a long-term strategy is essential for capitalizing on the fruits of your labor. While these components of an IP strategy are essential to efficiently navigating the world of innovation, no two IP portfolios are the same, so creating an individualized strategy is key. If you have further questions about how to craft an IP strategy customized to your company’s particular needs, don’t hesitate to reach out to Dilworth IP. We’re happy to help you craft the future you want for your organization.
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This article is for informational purposes, is not intended to constitute legal advice, and may be considered advertising under applicable state laws. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author only and are not necessarily shared by Dilworth IP, its other attorneys, agents, or staff, or its clients.