Highlights Think IP Strategy Seminar – Copenhagen 2012 – IP focus and value creation

As part of our efforts to understand local challenges and build local IP communities, a little over two weeks ago Think IP Strategy organized a workshop and networking event in Copenhagen. We would like to thank everyone for attending and actively participating in what was an interesting exchange of ideas.

Here are some highlights from the discussion of that day…

The event was structured around four seminars each dealing with different aspects of what constitutes strategy proficiency and how advanced IP strategy thinking can be reached and applied.  We started off exploring the IP potential concept and working our way up to four subsequent tiers of strategy that build on each to create in the end a holistic approach in IP management (see picture below).

Some thought-provoking concerns that the discussion lingered on during the one-day event included: innovation pace, using (and creating) white spaces to your advantage, understanding your business – emotional and logical selling factors, scope of the IP protection, isolation and collaboration instances in various industries, simplicity in IP strategy, reducing decision making cycles, and many others that will perhaps be detailed in later posts on this blog.

One of the reoccurring themes of the dialogue, and indeed an issue coming up more and more in various settings lately was how to make effective use of IP resources – focusing IP efforts in areas that will bring the greatest value – and how to communicate this value throughout the company.

During the discussions there was a distinction made between the purely strategic value of IP and the IP that has a strong monetary read on the end protect. Generally, three distinctions were made that can lead to different acquiring/developing IP decisions:

  • The IP is required for the company to be in the business (base IP/patents)
  • The IP  is required to ward off competitors (strategic use only)
  • The IP is protecting a key differentiating aspect that determines a positive decision at the point of sale (strong marketing/sales perspective with high impact on dollar value)

In terms of prioritization of focus and resources, since creating base IP is often a prerequisite for competing in the industry, the issue of allocating resources and justifying this allocation to the protection of strategic and differentiating IP arises. As in many IP strategy discussions there can be a plethora of approaches applied depending on the specific issue at hand – however, what is clear is that understanding the market not only from a technological, but a competitor and an end buyer side can do much to help IP executives make the right decision regarding allocation of resources.

There are a lot of soft nuances and guidelines here that should be considered, from understanding the buying decision (logical and emotional aspects) and how to translate this in protectable assets to the competition dynamic in the industry and manipulation of the value chain. These demand longer discussions and will for this reason not be the subject of the current blog.

In terms of communicating and justifying the role of IP within the company, communicating IP value has to be done in a way that will show the business implications. Nothing is and will be perceived as strategic if it does not translate into a business consequence in one way or another. IP executives therefore have to become the bridge between the business and technical spheres – able to translate their language in legal terms and back. While this might be easier for assets that have a concrete impact on the bottom line it becomes slightly difficult and highly dependent on the executive’s bridging ability for purely strategic assets. Even so, options exist for a more objective interpretation (for example war games that put IP strategy in practice and challenge existing plans in it in a conflict setting can be a highly efficient way to bring business, IP, sales and technical persons on the same page in terms of actions-effects-plans-goals).

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