Although amassing a large and diverse intellectual property portfolio can be a valuable pursuit, companies must realize that risk escalates as assets continue to accrue. As a result, quantifying the potential threats to portfolio value and relevance has become a more pressing component of IP management strategies.
In a recent advisory bulletin, patent litigation experts Tim Stirrup and Katherine Hebditch noted that the first step toward effective IP management is a systematic review of the patents, copyrights, trademarks and trade secrets a company owns, uses or has acquired. From logos and registered designs to product manuals and customer databases, all assets must be categorized in terms of their operational importance and expected longevity.
Once companies have gained a more detailed perspective of their IP portfolios, the task then becomes recognizing the potential internal and external risks. According to Stirrup and Hebditch, market demand, competitor activity, technological evolution, staffing changes and supplier relations are just a few of the factors to be considered.
In a recent guest column for the Burlington Free Press, Husky Injection Molding Systems vice president and general counsel Michael McKendry elaborated on how his firm is putting those principles into practice.
"Let's imagine you could list all factors associated with a risk equation and then assign and weigh a value representative of risk for each factor," McKendry wrote. "You would have a cumulative score indicating a certain level of risk - the higher the score, the riskier the endeavor. Husky did just that for intellectual property issues and associates a risk number for each factor."
As a result, McKendry is confident that his team is now better positioned to make more informed and effective decisions regarding the expansion and protection of the firm's portfolio.