Intellectual property (IP) management solutions are a valuable tool for any company because they allow for organization of IP assets and visibility into which assets can be used most impactfully for the business. For that reason, in an ideal world, every company would have an IP management solution. However, for companies who are rapidly scaling, it may be more difficult to allocate capital to investing in such a solution, despite their many benefits. So how can these organizations tell when an IP management solution becomes a necessity?
One of the biggest challenges a scaling company faces is having more work than the staff can manage, which often leads to an “all hands on deck” approach to the workload. This impacts intellectual property management because manual management requires high attention to important details, like dates, which can be timely, especially compared to using an IP management software. A team who is already stretching their human resources to meet strategic objectives can benefit from using IP management software by taking work off the hands of an employee whose time is better spent elsewhere.
Expensive manual management
Particularly for scaling companies, cash is king. Break even and return on investment are important metrics which should help dictate which method of intellectual property management the organization should take. For a simple evaluation, determine how much time it takes to manage the organization’s IP asset manually and multiply that against the process owner’s pay. Do your best to add in the impacts of unseen or unquantifiable costs like missing important deadlines, stress for the process owner, or the costs of missing valuable IP opportunities due to oversight. When this value exceeds the cost of purchasing a pre-built IP management solution, then it’s definitely time to think about implementing software.
Growing IP portfolio
Managing an intellectual property portfolio which contains one asset requires less involvement than managing a portfolio with multiple assets. Think about the important details pertaining to each asset which must be managed by the owner: deadlines, costs, where the IP is being used, how, status of the IP...the list goes on. As IP assets are added to the portfolio, these details accumulate, and the risk of losing information along the way increases, not to mention the lack of visibility into the portfolio as a whole can lead to missed opportunities. As your IP portfolio grows past 1-2 core assets, an IP management software will become more effective than any manual processes.
Intellectual property ownership provides a scaling company serious competitive advantage over potential entrants to the market. As competitors enter the industry, IP protection becomes more important and mismanagement of IP can lead to costly errors. Imagine being the first player in a disruptive industry. You develop the offering further and acquire more IP assets, but choose to manually manage them to save capital upfront. As the industry takes shape, more players enter the market to compete and your most direct competitor infringes on your IP so you attempt to take action. During legal proceedings you discover the IP application in question is incomplete and is now invalid. The impact of the lost competitive advantage and incurred legal fees can be a serious detriment to the success of your business.
Complex use cases
Usage of intellectual property doesn’t always take a linear path; in some instances you develop the IP, in others you license from another owner, and in many cases it’s a combination of many different methods. As your organization’s IP use case becomes more complex, management becomes more complicated. Using an IP management system can keep track of these details and provide insight into where your investments are being used most effectively.
Scaling companies need to use their human and capital resources wisely to generate the most benefit for their businesses. Intellectual property management systems can seem too expensive upfront for many of these companies, but in many cases offer a high ROI and benefit for the companies which implement them. Knowing the right time in your organization’s growth to implement one of these tools can be a driving factor in its success.
To learn more about ways scaling or emerging companies can use their intellectual property most effectively, get this free ebook: 4 Ways Emerging Companies Can Leverage IP for Business Success.