A comprehensive IP strategy must consider how an organization’s intellectual property is protected, optimized, and monetized both internally and externally. In order to strategically manage IP, your organization must plan beyond how it uses its intangible assets. How others use your intellectual property, as well as how you use others’ intellectual property, should also be considered.
What Does External IP Strategy Include?
Including external opportunities for R&D and ROI within your IP strategy allows your business to benefit from its inventions, even in situations where optimizing and monetizing them in-house is unlikely.
Perhaps the most obvious external intellectual property strategy is licensing. Giving another entity—or entities—the right to utilize your IP in exchange for royalties allows your organization to benefit from its intangible assets, even with limited internal resources. Limited resources are not the only reason to pursue a licensing agreement for a specific technology. The invention may not fit into your larger business strategy or no longer be useful internally.
Another alternative to licensing when your organization is unable or unwilling to optimize and monetize an innovation is the creation of a child company. Your business, which becomes the parent company, can spin off a new entity to better deliver ROI. In this situation, the parent company recoups its initial R&D investment as the child company attracts third-party investors.
Open innovation—through joint ventures, partnerships, and open source technologies—has two goals: accelerating innovation and increasing the commercial viability of the resulting inventions. In some situations, achieving these goals with the help of external partners is worth sharing your intellectual property. Your open innovation strategy may be collaborative, with a focus on moving your industry forward, or competitive, with a more conservative approach to sharing. Regardless, partnerships allow both internal R&D based on others’ IP, as well as external R&D based on your intangible assets.
Part of any IP strategy is protecting your intellectual property. Protection remains important if you plan to benefit from sharing your IP externally. In order to achieve beneficial licensing deals or partnerships, you must enforce the exclusive rights to your IP.