The biggest issue in IP management?

This caused a bit of a stir at the CIP Forum.  Do you agree?

Perhaps none of the speakers in the IP and IA management track in last week’s brilliant CIP Forum in Goteborg, Sweden were qualified to speak about what appears to be the most pressing issue for the future of IP management.  You see, none of the speakers in this track were from small to medium enterprises (SMEs).

Let’s back track a minute and then I’ll explain.

Each of the speakers on the IP Management panel on the second afternoon were asked to spend a few minutes speaking about what they see as the major issue defining the future of intellectual property management as we head to a knowledge economy. 

Here’s what I had to say, please do come and join the conversation and let us know what you think.

The biggest pool of patents is not at Samsung, or IBM, or LG or IBM or Microsoft, it is in the SME space.

We consistently hear (and at the conference, from the likes of Eli Lilly, Microsoft and Philips) that most innovation is occuring at the SME level. 

Clearly most IP management is occuring there as well.

We have all heard about and constantly deal with IP silos within companies, managing IP as a profit centre (and not a cost centre) and communicating value to the Board.

Well, the vast majority of IP management has no silos, no profit centre, no cost centre, indeed no centre at all.

The vast majority of IP management is done where there is no IP function.

The challenge then, is to develop a set of principles and practices that are transportable across SMEs to large corporations.  Accounting principles apply this way, as do marketing, sales, product development, indeed every other function.

Large entities have a great interest in helping SMEs to acheive this.  They themselves often say that this is where they look for innovation.  If they are to acquire IP from SMEs, then they would much rather that it had been carefully nurtured prior to acquisition.

Those of us charged with working in or with large and well resourced entities have an opportunity to make a substantial impact by leading the development of these tools.

[Photo credit: Clint M Chilcott and inventor of ‘Light Emitting Diode Persistence of Vision Helmet’]

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