Most people touting IP Strategy are selling snake oil – don’t believe them

It’s outrageous to see the sorts of things people are touting as ‘intellectual property strategy’.  Be discerning, cross examine them on the actual business impact they will have and hold them accountable.

My current estimate is that about 80% of people touting ‘IP Strategy’ services don’t even understand the basic tenets of strategy.

Do you disagree with me?  What have you found?


Image credit: Tim & Selena Middleton

20 Comments on “Most people touting IP Strategy are selling snake oil – don’t believe them

  1. I fully agree with you. Most people perceive intellectual property only as a set of laws.  In fact, IP strategy involves many other elements that are related to overall business strategy for  developing  of a company.
    think if we want to overcome this limited understanding of IP strategy,
    we must work hardly on building a subdivision in management called IP
    management. In addition to legal aspect it is necessary to include a business perspective too. The formation
    of IP management which can be  taught in Universities will prepare future
    professionals who can  understand the nature of IP strategy which  is becoming increasingly important element in doing business today.


    • Thanks – can you explain in more detail – because I think platitudes and lip service about business strategy are part of the problem.

      • Yes of course.
        For example, a company which wants to introduce a new brand on the market.
        understanding of IP strategy in this respect is linked to registration of the mark  in the country where the company operates.
        I think this is not enough and never can be defined as an IP strategy in respect of that mark.
        strategy in this case would have to request information about the
        overall strategy  for development of the company, it must be consistent with
        Then it must be define the strategic objectives set for the brand. In which countries the brand will be used, for what product portfolio (potential for its expansion in the future) and so on.
        need to do something like IP SWOT analysis for brand, what is the
        competitive environment (can there be attempts for imitation of  the brand),
        what are the possibilities of the company for enforcement and so on.
        Then it must be determine financial parameters for the protection of the brand and for creating a clear water field around the mark.
        At the next stage it must be set potential licensing opportunities, join venture and so on.
        It is important this strategy to examine the situation around the mark from all possible perspectives and to establish goals and tasks which can  ensure all benefits from the brand.
        What I described above is only a partfrom the whole  IP strategy for the brand.
        we talk about a comprehensive IP strategy of the company it will
        include a summary vision for the development of intellectual property
        objects which to generate maximum benefits from IP.

        In the case of patents IP strategy is even more important factor which could prejudge future of a company.
        This is my humble opinion.Have a nice dayVentsi 

  2. Thanks – can you explain in more detail – because I think platitudes and
    lip service about business strategy are part of the problem.

  3. “Touting” is very bad word, it’s also called “Marketing.” I understand what you want to say, you want IP strategy to return to the very basic question about what kind of IP does a company really need.
    I don’t do touting/marketing , but IP strategy is very important here in China. 
    The government provides refund for IP fees and bonus/money award if your IP accumulated to certain amount. So, it will be very helpful if someone can tell you what you can get for free, also, the strategy can tell you what the FREE IP could bring to you. For example, certain amount of IP is very critical for the certification of “high/advanced-tech-company”, and that certification could bring you government investment, low interest loan, tax return, chip land providing from local government, …
    Did I give you a shock, don’t blame our government, the officials just want the number of IP too much. ha ha

    • Thanks Netquin – no, that’s not what I am saying at all.  Yes, access to government funding is very important but a tiny piece in the overall scheme of things.

  4. A basic step could be to determine what FTO choices are appropriate from the range of options available given the technology space and type of business.

    • Thanks as always Naim for your input – I guess first step depends on context and what we’re trying to achieve.  (Though very logical for a product based strategy brief.)

  5. Could be. Although there are probably a few reputable companies and software solutions out there that are providing valuable guidance.

      • Hi Duncan, my comment was an “in general” comment; meaning, where we look for good we sometimes find the opposite as well. I agree with you that one must be discerning, know one’s objectives, and understand the impact of the proposed strategy. In the particular case of our software, Patent Tools Premium, we do not “tout” or “market” (Netquin IP) that our software is the absolute. Rather, our very affordable tool can provide a unique perspective relative to other reputable (and expensive) tools. Like many tools and services offered, we typically do not “tell” someone what is best or what they should do, but we can provide enough information for one to make assured and accurate decisions.

      • thanks Mike – but what about others?  (Otherwise you appear to be touting…)  🙂

      • Ahh, Duncan – but I am not touting. And certainly was not touting “intellectual property strategy”. Intellogist is a source for IP software comparisons, although their product comparison list is not exhaustive. IP strategy should also include human analytics, which I believe you were eluding to in your 3 sentence post. And, according to my original post, I am confident there are a few reputable companies and software solutions that are providing valuable guidance. Human analytics + computer analytics will assist great in determining an IP strategy.

        How did you ascertain 80% touting IP strategy “services” do not understand the basic tenets of strategy?

      • Thanks Mike – we watch the world very closely, you can see an example of that in our Global Week in Review posts.  Thanks for the discussion.

  6. Duncan. I agree with you. Having said that, developing and implementing a true IP strategy is a tough challenge and for us, project experience counts for everything. I suppose it is no differnt from any consulting area. The more you do the more you learn. And the better you get.The fact that someone has done it once inside a large corporate is also not necessarily a guide that they can do it again inside a clients unique environment. As a customer the best advice is to ask for client references relevant to your own study and project. No different from what you’d expect if engaging any professional services firm.
    INTIPSA is a good platform for good practice standards to emerge. I hope.

    • Hi Andrew – that central line is so true – “the fact that someone has done it once…not necessarily a guide that they can do it again…inside a clients unique environment.”  Creates the classic sales error of having solutions looking for problems instead of looking at problems in their own unique light.

    • While in general I agree with the comment I would also add that few companies know what they want in IP. There is no guaranteed success. for an IP strategy. Caution is of paramount importance. 

      An IP landscape study in house and a study of failed and successful diverse IP strategies could certainly be a starting point. This  in part may help identify what elements unique to the company will guide IP strategy.

      • Hi Naim – Strategist Col. John Boyd netted out strategic actions as being an interplay between interaction and isolation – i.e. your strategy among other entities is to selectively foster useful to you interactions and isolations preferably on your terms.  IP really is nothing more than one tool of many that a business has to shape its pool of interactions and isolations with customers, partners, and competitors thats power is generated by the legal right to enforce exclusivity.  The usefulness of that tool in a market depends upon the strength of laws and the credibility that the IP holder can or will leverage its right to enforce exclusivity.

        I think when a business manager understand IP as the tool that it is, what they want in an IP strategy begins to crystallize.  No business leader who calls himself a strategist is willingly going to leave such a potentially powerful tool to shape markets on the table. 


      • I would disagree that today a study of IP landscape selects or isolates interactions or sets any terms that are preferential. It is a vital tool for uncovering information about the market where your potential competitors are playing the market game utilizing  IP. You can be comprehensive about the market and extend your IP landscape into what I call  a tech map and integrate market, product and strategy information and connect your IP information to all other areas. Then study the holistic information to gauge your position.

        The study of non-linear phenomena (chaos) in modern day science has created an increasing need for studying holistic information. One should study all the tools (IP is one of them) and connect your observations to understand what is potentially in front of you.

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