Innovation Asset Blog

5 Must-Have Features of an IP Management System


What do you look for in an intellectual property (IP) management system? For most innovation teams, the primary reason for using these tools is efficiency. Is there a common definition for efficiency in this context given that there are so many different business models and industries? We think so.

In terms of IP development and production, greater efficiency is realized when:

  • Inventors have greater involvement to ensure quality
  • Invention output is increased
  • IP portfolio audits can easily be performed and completed
  • Costs can be determined more quickly
  • Manual processes can be effectively automated

It comes down to visibility, agility and cost management. IP management systems deliver on this by way of automation and access to data.

Here are five key features that enhance efficiency:

Relationship Maps

It’s ironic that intellectual property is such a profit driver for most companies yet it is so hard to see the ecosystem that comprises the value. In order to efficiently leverage the creation and exploitation of IP, you want to know: Who are the most prolific inventors? What products have sprung from their invention disclosures? Which products contain which patented technologies? What are the most IP-rich divisions within a company? Which of our IP rights are connected to licensing agreements?  

These and other relationships inform strategic actions and speed up decision making. As importantly, inventors are more likely to make sure the can gets kicked down the road if they can track the status of their invention disclosures. Visibility into how the parts connect to a whole keeps people engaged and excited.

A good IP management system can answer these questions and more. Some systems, like Decipher®, make these associations even easier to understand by generating a visual web, also known as a relationship map. These representations allow management and other team members to quickly see how their IP is organized and deployed, which in turn helps them audit the inventory at any given time or otherwise track performance.

Automated Workflows and Team Communication

One of the biggest efficiency challenges for innovation teams is communication. Because there are so many players involved in procedures like invention disclosure (e.g. inventor, in-house attorneys, outside counsel, review boards, etc.), a lot of time goes into basic meeting coordination and drafting correspondence.

Typically, the stages of invention disclosure and related IP management processes are straightforward, and thus lend themselves to automation. IP management systems speed up these processes with repeatable forms generation, automatic notifications and alerts (“ID just submitted,” “More info needed,” Ready for Review,” “Approved for filing,” etc) and simultaneous next-step actions.

Legal Spend Management

Whether it’s for comprehensive and strong IP protection or litigation, businesses almost always partner with outside counsel. Tracking costs, managing payments, and evaluating the effectiveness of those partnerships can be difficult without the right data.

Decipher® features legal spend management tools that leverage the LEDES billing standard to automate the importation of outside counsel billing information. It can also provide you with a listing of spend by law firm, the work they performed, which asset the work was associated with, and more. With that information, you can make educated decisions about how to establish and utilize your legal budget.

Data Visualization

IP management systems that feature data visualization tools and graphical dashboards make tracking and acting on information a much simpler process. By filtering for the appropriate criteria, inventors, managers, and executives can get easily digestible information that directly details performance and status. Use assets, product groups, staff members, completion times, costs, and other information to make faster and better decisions about your innovation path, IP portfolio and overall efficiency.

Patent Cost Estimation

It can take days, weeks or months to figure out the maintenance and renewal costs of patents in various countries. A good IP management system should be able to tell you in minutes how much it would cost over time to plant a patent asset or portfolio of patents in a particular country. And you should be able to decide very quickly whether or not to renew a patent or portfolio in any given jurisdiction. Is it making you money or collecting dust and wasting money? The resulting forecasting reports can be exported and circulated to the appropriate decision-makers in your organization for maximum efficiency.

Want a closer look at these features? Click here to sign up for a 30-day free trial of Decipher®, which delivers all the tools you need to successfully manage your IP portfolio and improve your team’s efficiency.

decipher intellectual property 30 day free trial

Peter Ackerman

Peter Ackerman

Founder & CEO, Innovation Asset Group, Inc.