Spend Too Little to Protect Too Much (no. 15 in our list of IP mistakes)
Another truth of classical strategy is that if you try to be strong everywhere, you become strong nowhere. IP portfolios are not exempt from this truth. Comprehensive protection of all the IP around many product solutions can be expensive, and every possible element that could be protected needs to be prioritized in accord with the resources at hand and merit for doing so.
The first step to balancing the associated IP budget is to prioritize on that IP deemed most essential to the business. The second is to make the most of the resources you have. The third is to understand the level of IP protection you actually need. The forth is to define acceptable risks. The last is to simplify your IP management process so that you can have a better handle on how to do all the rest of the above.
A patent portfolio is a competitive barrier, and while it can be used to advance business, it otherwise is a defense. Like any defense, you cannot necessarily dictate where or if an adversary will challenge it. You can study and understand where the control points of the system you wish to protect are and focus your defenses there. For example, a potential technical standard, a particularly important catalyst, or any other element without which the rest of a product solution would fail to meet expectations can provide a way to focus a defense. The principle here is the same as that by which England once controlled the world’s oceans by controlling strategic points, such as the Straits of Gibraltar and the Suez Canal. The ocean itself was otherwise much too vast.
(This is number 15 in our list of IP mistakes and how to avoid them.)
(Image credit: Hemera)