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Best Practices

4 Intellectual Property Management Best Practices

Intellectual property is, for many companies, an irreplaceable asset that accounts for much of their total value. Strategic intellectual property management (IPM) allows businesses to reap the full benefit of their investments in research and development as well as mergers and acquisitions. Managing IP, including patents, requires:

  • Valuing IP based on novelty, strength, potential profit, and other factors.
  • Protecting novel technologies, prioritizing protection for IP that fits within your IP strategy and offers the most value (or potential value).
  • Proactively defending protected technologies from infringement.
  • Monetizing IP using a variety of strategies, including new or improved products, licensing, and sale.

These functions are incredibly important to the ROI a company sees on its IP. The right intellectual property management decisions may be the difference between a successful business and an organization that falls victim to a rapidly changing competitive landscape. A strategic approach to IP management can significantly increase the value of the IP itself, as well as the company as a whole.

Best Practices for IP Asset Management

IP management is a nuanced business practice that is different for every entity. It depends on how your organization generates valuable intellectual property, what industry you operate in, and many other factors—some quite large and others more minute. Regardless, these best practices can help your organization think strategically about how you manage your IP assets.

1. Review Often

Some industries move faster than others, making this best practice even more important. Regardless of how quickly the technology landscape around your products changes, you should review your patents and other IP regularly.

IP management tools like IP.com’s Patent Vitality Report (PVR) and Portfolio Intelligence Report (PIR) make it easy for organizations to understand the value and validity of their patents based on overall strength, litigation risk, monetization potential, new technology value, and patent quality. The highly visual reports can be shared across teams to effectively and efficiently communicate what IP should be protected and monetized.

For a deeper look at the landscape as a whole and applicable competitive intelligence, organizations can complete ongoing, comprehensive patent search and analysis with a tool like InnovationQ+™.

2. Make Data-Driven Decisions

With an up-to-date snapshot of your IP assets, you can make decisions about valuation, protection, infringement, and monetization based on data. Ideally, this process begins early in the innovation lifecycle, prioritizing R&D with the most potential based on novelty and overall IP strategy. Tracking the ratio of invention disclosures to patent applications to granted patents helps companies understand both the quantity and quality of their inventions. Data-driven decisions should continue throughout the useful life of any intellectual property, guiding pruning, renewal, and licensing decisions.

Using the actionable metrics uncovered by tools like the PVR, organizations can quickly determine what IP is most valuable and promises a continued return on the investment required to invent, patent, and maintain a technology.

3. Centralize Management

Intellectual property management encompasses many business functions. As an organization’s IP portfolio grows, managing it becomes more important, as well as more time-consuming and complex. Giving an individual or team ownership of IP management streamlines the process and creates a clear point of contact during any necessary cross-team collaboration. Engineers, product managers, IP professionals, legal teams, the C-suite, and more will all have a role in IP management that fits within the market at large and complements business strategy.

A software solution, overseen by the team that owns IP management, can be helpful in the process as well. This crucial task can also be outsourced to firms that specialize in IPM.

4. Mitigate Risk

Innovative IP is incredibly valuable to its owner but that value is not without risk. In order to mitigate the risk IP inherently carries with it, threats must first be identified. Your intellectual property management processes should consider as many risks as possible and work to eliminate them.

Technologies must be kept secret until protected; otherwise, an innovation may not be eligible for a patent at all. This requires educating employees on IP rights. A granted patent does not eliminate the risk of infringement. IP must also be protected from interested third parties after commercialization, including competitors, hackers, and governments.

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