Valuable intellectual property isn’t always your latest innovation. Strategic investment in intellectual property delivers ongoing returns. It is possible to increase the value of your existing technology with a thorough intellectual property strategy. Reaping benefits from your IP portfolio looks different for every organization. These are three creative ways companies can boost ROI from past research and development.
Many businesses have patents they aren’t actively using. Established organizations may no longer need a technology because of a shift in strategy or business model. Startups or entrepreneurs may not have the capital for—or interest in—manufacturing a product after receiving a patent for it or its components. In both situations, the intellectual property is a candidate for licensing agreements.
2. New Markets
Existing intellectual property may have potential outside of your industry, regardless of whether it is used in your current offerings or has reached the end of its useful life in your primary market. Consider entering an adjacent market with a product of your own using previously patented technology. Or, allow businesses in that market to utilize your invention with a cross-licensing agreement.
3. Brand Awareness
Building a patent wall around your most iconic products keeps competitors from replicating them. This not only creates a competitive advantage in the short term. It also allows you time to grow the value of your brand name and demand for your flagship product(s).
Gillette used this strategy with its Sensor razor, which offered a closer and more comfortable shave than existing men’s razors. Almost two dozen features of the razor are protected by patents, from the packaging to the blades themselves. This strategy protected the product and company completely for the life of the patents.
John Bush, Gillette’s former vice president of corporate R&D, explained further, “We created a patent wall with those 22 patents. And they were all interlocking so no one could duplicate that product.”