Throughout some of my recent discussion with different companies and indeed one of the reoccurring themes since I have a started studying and working in the IP field is how to guide the organization towards capturing IP value and how to effectively do this on an on-going basis.
Most often an asset deemed to be “valuable IP” would fall into one or more of the following categories:
- assets required for the company to be in the business (base assets)
- assets that translate into value at the selling point by protecting the key differentiators that influence the buying decision at the level of the end customer (key differentiating assets)
- assets required to ward off competitors through assertion or the presumption of a possible assertion (strategic competitive use)
- assets that can be licensed through carrot or stick approaches to potential customers, partners, competitors, etc. (alternative revenue generating)
While the characteristics of valuable IP might be generally known…a large majority of companies fail to capture these assets or only partially realize the value of their portfolios. (On the principle that: it is not hard to imagine what the perfect scenario is, but getting there is another thing…)
Mostly this is because IP’s value is dependent on the entire organization, supported by its leaders, to work together towards common defined goals and to energetically use the assets to shape its markets. If drive, leadership and support for such activities is not found, then the company will likely find itself in a situation like the above mentioned, confining the IP function to a mostly reactionary role.
If not related to a high stakes project or a high risk situation getting buy-in internally often will require the somewhat courageous initiative and individual drive of a visionary person. He/she will have to create awareness around an area where additional value can be added (value includes mitigating unnecessary risks) and, using a solid working plan translate these concepts into concrete business benefits to get support from upper management.
Once the results of this first project are confirmed, upper-management buy-in and support is likely to be given for additional projects reinforcing the cycle and giving the opportunity for the IP to adopt a more active position.
The trick in most cases is to start with a small change significant enough to make an impact and constantly reinforce your goals and achievements along the way.
As always, we’d love to hear your tips, tricks and general thoughts on increasing awareness, strengthening support and driving IP value.