Can You Win Your IP Wars?
This is a metaphorical question of course. It represents another universal issue in strategy. Renowned generals throughout history have shown a propensity to win great battles, but fail to win their wars. Sports teams make big plays, run up the stats, but don’t win their important games. Talented chess players give masters a run for their money, but just can’t attain mate. It happens in IP also to apparently talented IP professionals. IP professionals may win litigations and all manner or other IP disputes on a regular basis, but fail, on behalf of their enterprises, to win their IP wars.
Winning a war in IP usually means that the IP for which you have successfully enforced exclusivity and secured relationships, reads on product solutions widely accepted by the market where your enterprise has the opportunity to fully realize the value of that IP during the life of that IP, and maybe even beyond. To get there means not only that you have played your right to enforce exclusivity on your IP well; it means that the business that you support and that supports you has also played its associated innovation and business development cards well. The total combination for which the IP professional should be involved throughout creates a virtuous cycle of benefit where IP gives power to help the innovation and business development efforts succeed, and they in turn provide the resources and the purpose to make IP enforceability commercially decisive.
Of course as classical strategists understand, you can know how to win wars without having an opportunity to do so. This means the other side of winning IP wars is to know which IP wars you can win. If you can’t win a given IP war, then all you can do is win IP battles until you lose. If you don’t realize that you can’t win an IP war and press on anyway, then you also by default lose even the wars you might have won instead. Put another way, it is much easier to be brilliant for a moment than to show brilliance all the way through to a greater goal.
Image credit: Hemera