As an executive, you understand that it is critical to align your business’s IP portfolio with your overall business strategy. If your portfolio and business strategy don’t match, you may come to see IP as a liability and an expense rather than as an asset.
Here, we briefly cover how to develop your IP portfolio in a way that keeps the portfolio aligned with business interests.
Identify business goals.
This may seem obvious, but we are always surprised by how many clients come to TraskBritt without a clearly defined business strategy—and, in some instances, the clients are multi-million-dollar companies. Below are some goals that can be particularly relevant to your IP:
- Increase revenue through licensing.
- Protect core technology.
- Block competitors from entering a market.
Run a SWOT analysis of your IP and that of your competitors.
Take time to run a Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats (SWOT) analysis with your team. Since technology and IP can change fast, it’s important to be aware of the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats of not only your IP portfolio, but the IP portfolio of your competitors. In addition to patents, it’s important to consider trademarks, trade secrets, copyrights, designs, and even domain names and social media presence.
This will help your team identify the IP assets that are essential to your company’s success. These identified IP assets need to be protected—and fast! As your business grows, it is also important to identify the IP assets that complement your core assets and make moves to protect them as well. Do this analysis continuously, at least once a year.
Set a budget
The IP budget is often included as part of the research and development budget. This budget is dependent on business goals and the overall size of the business. The cost of a U.S. patent over its total life cycle is usually between $21.5k and $51k, including attorney fees and government fees. Budget the same amount for each additional country where you would like to pursue patent protection. (Take a look at the official patent fee schedule here.) Other IP costs vary depending on the type of IP and the country of interest.
Protect your IP assets.
The essential step in all of this is actually making a move to protect your assets. This is often thought of as filing a patent or trademark application. But again, IP can take many other forms. Many businesses come to TraskBritt to handle both their patent work and broader IP strategy.
Create a business-focused innovation committee.
A business-focused innovation committee often sets objectives for innovations that are in line with your business strategy and then prioritizes patent or trademark application filings and manages the IP portfolio. We recommend creating a committee of this sort to encourage fluid management of your IP portfolio. The committee should include a diverse group drawn from different departments in the company. The frequency of committee meetings does not matter as much as their regularity. If patentable inventions are identified frequently, then regular meetings should be held. Whether that is monthly or quarterly is up to you.
Create a filing calendar.
Establishing intellectual property rights can be a lengthy process, and various deadlines are involved. We will help you develop a filing calendar with relevant deadlines and dates so that everyone is on the same page.
Monetize your IP portfolio
This is the best part. You want to know that your IP portfolio is worth something—because, oftentimes, it costs a lot. With your IP portfolio developed and aligned with your business strategy, you will be in a better position to leverage your IP portfolio for commercial success, whether that is by using it as a legal stick and/or for marketing purposes.