9 Feb 2017
An intellectual property strategy is a plan for using intellectual property to achieve a business objective. Just as there are any number of business objectives there can be any number of IP strategies. Some are very simple such as the determining the optimum legal protection for the business's intellectual assets. Others may be much more complex involving licensing and cross-licensing. The usual place to start is the company's business plan but IP strategy can be useful even if there is no business plan because it can inform the business planning process.
A Simple Example
Suppose a business with a limited legal budget wants to choose the optimum legal protection for its intellectual assets. Here is how it could set about it.
- First, it would identify the main revenue streams over the business planning period.
- Secondly, it should ascertain the threats to those income streams most of which are likely to be commercial.
- Thirdly, it should consider countermeasures to those threats many of which will also be commercial such as developing new products or finding new markets.
- Where only a patent, trade mark or other intellectual property right will do, there may be several options. For instance, a new product may be patented or it may be a trade secret, The business will choose the more cost-effective form of protection.
Finally, it will give some thought to funding which may include some sort of intellectual property insurance.
Drawing up an IP Strategy
A good place to start is to catalogue the income generating assets that the com]any has or expects to develop and acquire and in some cases possible threats to those assets, a process sometimes called intellectual property or intellectual asset auditing. This usually involves discussions with the company's management and sometimes its research and development or marketing personnel. Initially, this work is likely to be done by consultants but subsequent work can be carried out by the company's own management.
The next stage is to plan a route from the present situation to the company's objectives. This will be done in conjunction with the company's management and its other professional advisers. It may involve the development of new products or services, arranging adequate legal protection or seeking licences from third parties.
Should anyone wish to discuss this article or intellectual property strategy in general, he or she should call me during office hours on +44 (0)20 7494 5252 or send me a message through my contact form.
Jane Lambert’s Articles
What is IP Strategy? IPstrategy.co.
What is an IP Strategist? IP Maximizer Blog
Intellectual Property Strategy. MIT Press
IP Strategy, Handbook of IP Practices
Robert Pocknell and others