An organization’s intellectual property portfolio is an important asset that can be used strategically to drive value through revenue generating and cost saving opportunities. Conversely, when intellectual property is not managed effectively, those opportunities are lost and resources are wasted. This post will cover five key consequences of mismanaging intellectual property and how to avoid them.
A mismanaged intellectual property portfolio can lead to serious inefficiencies throughout the entire value chain. For example, organizations still manually managing the intellectual property process via paper files or spreadsheets tend to experience bottlenecks at key process points, lack of information continuity, and loss of key data. These bottlenecks and data disruption can drastically increase the time it takes for an idea to gain protection and turn into revenues, not to mention the challenges they pose for management of the portfolio thereafter.
Wasted Labor Resources
The process inefficiencies above increase the time your intellectual property team devotes to tasks that should be automated, and therefore decrease the time available to focus on strategic priorities. Eliminating these inefficiencies can help prioritize everyone’s time in order to maximize their value.
High Legal Spend
The legal costs associated with intellectual property can be substantial, complex and difficult to control. In mismanaged intellectual property processes, your organization loses visibility into how these costs are being allocated. For organizations working with outside intellectual property law firms, lack of visibility into legal spend can blind you to the (in)efficiencies you’re experiencing and the (in)effectiveness of your respective outside lawyers and their staff; you might be wasting more money than you realize, or not investing as much as you should behind the right people. Also, if you’re managing your IP manually, you may be overly complicating the legal billing process and even hindering your outside firm’s ability to meet LEDES Standards for efficient reporting and invoicing.
Irregular or Missing Data
Effective process management hinges on using clean data to make fast informed decisions. Good information is key to successful intellectual property management. In a mismanaged intellectual property process, data irregularity, inconsistency or incompleteness risks leadership’s ability to accurately analyze costs, identify successful (or wasteful) assets, pinpoint bottlenecks, and provide strategic and competitive insights.
Mismanaged intellectual property can lead to lost revenue generating opportunities as well. For example, without transparency into the revenue performance of your IP (what’s it tied to - which products? Which licenses and royalty obligations? How much life does it have left?), you probably wouldn’t know whether the organization is leveraging some of the wrong assets — over investing in ones that are unfruitful or under investing in promising areas. Similarly, the organization could be missing valuable opportunities to license unused intellectual property.
Decreased or Improperly Directed Innovation
Your organization’s innovation output can suffer as a result of mismanaged intellectual property as well. For example, intellectual property performance data can help indicate demand and influence the direction for overall product strategy. Additionally, with manually managed IP processes, it is entirely possible that valuable and commercially viable ideas are not getting captured - they’re slipping through the cracks. With ineffective or confusing systems in place, there can also be a lack of motivation on the part of employees to generate new ideas because of the administrative time and effort involved, and an inability to track their ideas to see their status.
A mismanaged intellectual property process can lead to inefficiencies, wasted resources and lost opportunities which can affect your organization’s overall performance and competitiveness. An intellectual property management solution can resolve these issues by automating parts or all of the process, removing bottlenecks and identifying wasted resources. These tools also provide a high degree of visibility into intellectual property data so your team can make fast and accurate decisions and leverage intellectual property assets effectively. To learn how Cascade Microtech took control of their mismanaged property process with an intellectual property management system, leading to a 150% return on investment, read this brief case study.