For scaling companies, intellectual property can be used to protect core functionality, to maintain competitive edge, as a point of leverage for investment, and more. However, it can be difficult for an already time-strapped, growing company to strategically consider the dynamic structure and ongoing management of its intellectual property portfolio, but these actions can be a driving factor in the company’s success. Here are six tips to help your team build and manage a dynamic intellectual property portfolio as your organization grows.
1. Determine core intellectual property assets.
If your organization sells a product, no matter the industry, there will be core technology which sets you apart from competitors — your unique differentiator or value proposition. In your organization’s infancy, it’s important to determine what this technology is and protect it using intellectual property assets. Focusing efforts and resources here is critical, as it’s almost always better to use intellectual property than to leave it unprotected.
2. Identify complementary intellectual property.
As your company scales, those core assets may grow and shift as your organization’s strategic goals continue to develop based on customer needs or market trends. One key to maintaining a dynamic intellectual property portfolio is to continuously identify which assets complement each other and further strategic priorities. Identifying these complementary intellectual property groups can lead to marketing or development opportunities, help define where investment should be placed, and give direction to the roadmap of future innovation at the organization.
3. Optimize the intellectual property mix.
While patents are certainly pieces of a strong intellectual property portfolio, a dynamic intellectual property portfolio is built on more than just patents. Trademarks can be useful for defining a brand image. Licensing can be the key to achieving innovation faster or establishing collaborative partnerships with other industry players. Each type of intellectual property can provide key advantages for your organization; having a rich mix will strengthen your position and set you up for success.
4. Regularly evaluate intellectual property data.
Intellectual property portfolio management cannot be successful without adequate understanding of the performance of intellectual property assets. Gaining visibility into which assets in your portfolio are performing well (or not) can help your organization determine if it is over or underinvesting in certain areas. Maintaining a process that allows for simple and streamlined evaluation (having one-source of truth) can ultimately can lead to optimized intellectual property use.
5. Create an innovation culture.
An innovation culture at your organization can lead to increased innovation and invention. In the long term, this can lead to sustained intellectual property development and give your organization the ability to move into new areas of business, ultimately creating more opportunity and profits for your company! Check out this free guide to learn more about building an innovation culture and its benefits.
6. Implement an intellectual property management solution.
For many scaling companies, an intellectual property management solution may seem like an unnecessary expense, but implementing this tool at the right time can put your organization in a strategic position and allows you to quickly capitalize on future opportunities. Additionally, intellectual property management software can help facilitate the adoption of the activities listed above and maintain intellectual property best practices. For example, these tools support innovation culture by streamlining invention disclosure, they enable intellectual property performance evaluation by unifying data into one source of truth, and they identify connections between assets.
Strategically building and managing a dynamic intellectual property portfolio can help give scaling companies an edge as they grow and their goals adapt. To learn more about how scaling companies can leverage intellectual property, get this free guide: 4 Ways Emerging Companies Can Leverage IP for Business Success.