Smart business leaders understand today that IP Strategy should form a fundamental pillar of their value creation-directed business strategy. By taking a “business eye view” toward IP, forward-thinking corporate managers seek to capture the true value of their company, which today is increasingly measured in the form of intangible assets such as patents, trademarks, copyrights and trade secrets.
If you have read this far in this post, you no doubt realize that your company must develop and execute on an IP Strategy in order to maximize intangible asset value. But, IP Strategy is only one part of the process of generating and maximizing this asset value. As an IP and Patent Business Strategist (more info here: The Hutter Group), I have found that even the most robust business-directed IP Strategy is likely doomed to failure if your company does not also establish an IP Culture within your organization. Put simply, as a manager responsible for the execution of your company’s IP strategy, you must work to destroy the “IP Expert” silo that likely exists today in your company.
This silo consists of the designated “IP Experts” in your company who are typically R & D-oriented employees and your in-house IP lawyers. In developing IP rights in this typical corporate silo, an R & D employee will notify in-house IP lawyers that he has invented something, and the latter will validate the “inventiveness” of the idea. Together these designated “IP Experts” will decide whether the invention merits protection in a patent or whether it should remain a trade secret. The decision of whether to obtain a patent happens almost exclusively in this “IP Expert” silo. Moreover, if your business leaders are involved at all in this process, they are only involved with power to veto the previous “IP Expert” validation of the value of the invention. And, in my experience, once the “IP Experts” start on the road to obtaining a patent, few business people are willing to overrule the previous “expert” decision to proceed.