As with any facet of business — administration, sales, product development — data analysis and reporting is going to be key to the intellectual property management process. Depending on your process, your intellectual property can go through several stages of development, deployment, and maintenance. Considering the sheer volume of that undertaking, it’s no wonder that some organizations lose track of their IP’s life stage. Are you one of them?
If you said yes (or aren’t even sure)... no sweat! Here are some concepts to consider implementing for your intellectual property management process:
Identify Your Key Metrics
Marketing, sales, and other departments within your organization have Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that they use to identify their success, and so should the IP group. Before you start measuring away, begin by defining the core metrics for your intellectual property management process. You can do this by honing in on each stage, starting with innovation, and tying more qualitative factors back to your bottom line. For example, when your engineers brainstorm or conceptualize, how long does it take them? Are they relying on additional (paid) resources to complete their work? Does a given “innovation session” result in the invention of one product, or several? Remember, you may need to craft metrics for each stage in the intellectual property management process. While there may be some overlap, workflows are likely going to be very different at each step of IP management.
Track Results on an Ongoing Basis
Innovation can mean different things to different people or companies, but everyone generally agrees that it is most successful when there is constant thinking, exploring, and moving ahead of where you were before. When an idea comes to fruition, a new development process begins, and so on. As a result, it’s important to continuously track a given invention as it moves along the continuum from inception to commercialization. That way, the best ideas don’t get buried behind what’s shiny and new; instead, they are front and center for evaluation, deployment, or whatever stage comes next (which you could identify with proper tracking!).
Keep Your Data in a Central Location
Consider a scenario where all IP-related records and files are sent away from a central desk and expected to come back with updates. Previous data goes missing. Documents show up with coffee stains. Some irrelevant memos are attached to folders. Everything is a mess, and it only becomes harder to identify your action items after reviewing that mess.
Now consider an alternative in which your IP records and notes are kept on one desk in your company headquarters. All updates and addenda are sent to that central desk, so records are clean and a given person can “check in” to the desk, find their desired status update for a specific IP asset, then check out. Nothing moves, everything is neat, and everything is up to date.
The first scenario describes the situation with far too many companies; they're actulaly robbing themselves of precious time and resources - and losing their competitive edge as a result.
The second scenario illustrates the importance of a centralized database. With a central management system, the intellectual property management process gains a new level of transparency and simplicity - which in turn leads to efficient reporting and easy decision-making by relevant parties.
Make Your IP Tracking Easy to Access
The team or individual responsible for generating new ideas should be able to identify the status and maturity of their inventions. With an easily digestible interface, your organization will be able to easily confirm if innovation is alive and well within its walls. From engineers to team leads, from executive leadership to legal personnel, your eligible staff will be able to track innovation progress, helping them establish future goals and validate their past successes.
Analyzing your intellectual property management process does far more for your business than just satisfying your curiosity or exploring past developments. Monitoring trends in development, tracking innovation velocity, and reviewing IP management spending has a direct impact on ROI visibility. Want a clearer picture? Download this case study that explains how Cascade Microtech introduced the Decipher system to their organization and led them to a 150% return on investment by uncovering actionable insight from their intellectual property management process.