Intellectual property may be the most valuable asset your company owns or controls. Protecting it is critical, but it can also be a powerful tool for driving your business forward. Discover five best practices for leveraging
1. Align your IP strategy with your business goals
The foundation of any successful IP strategy is having a clear understanding of how it serves your broader business objectives. Can it bring in new revenue streams or capital? Solidify a competitive advantage? Build beneficial alliances?
Bringing intellectual property in line with the rest of the business can help identify opportunities to streamline costs, create new revenue streams, develop products, and more.
Once you decide on the purpose of your IP strategy, you’ll be in a position to assess how to move forward with the greatest effectiveness.
2. Decide on an offensive or defensive approach…or both
A “defensive” IP strategy focuses on protecting your exclusive rights to particular technologies, designs, and processes, while an “offensive” one seeks to extract maximum revenue from your IP.
These strategies aren’t mutually exclusive, but depending on your business model, one may be a better focus than the other.
For example, companies that emphasize R&D and product development may find a defensive strategy useful for blocking competitors from following suit, ensuring market dominance and the ability to charge premium rates.
On the other side of the spectrum, those that own a diverse portfolio might be better served by aggressively licensing, selling, or eliminating IP assets, partnering with companies to bring them to market, or encircling the competition.
3. Consider using your IP to create additional revenue streams
The decision to pursue licensing agreements is up to each individual company, but it has the potential to yield significant revenue. Depending on your portfolio, licensing can generate millions annually!
If increasing revenue in the short term is essential to achieving your company’s business goals or if you have intellectual property that you don’t intend to bring to market, this might be a good tactic to consider.
Your IP can also be used as a bargaining chip in strategic alliances and original manufacturer agreements, as well as make your company look more appealing to potential buyers and investors.
4. Use IP to increase your brand’s perceived value
Patents provide quantifiable evidence of your company’s innovation and technological leadership. That leadership has the potential to influence customers, suppliers, and employees to see your company more favorably.
Remember Intel’s campaign for their Pentium processor? Whether it was a superior technology is debatable, but as a result of aggressive advertising efforts that highlighted their patented technology, they earned three times the profits of their competitors.
5. Have the right resources in place
The waters of IP can be muddy and your organization must be prepared to encounter a variety of situations, from infringement suits to dealing with copycat technologies.
Make sure you have the right resources in place ahead of time to ensure you can respond to opportunities and threats as soon as they happen, while proactively working to avoid damaging situations as much as possible.
These efforts can be bolstered greatly by optimizing your use of internal and external resources. Strong internal IP leadership is critical and can be greatly complemented by specialized external resources to help streamline processes.
How are you using your intellectual property? Consider using IP portfolio management software to organize and start leveraging your assets more effectively.
Founder & CEO, Innovation Asset Group, Inc.