Enhancing Innovation ROI by Adding Patents at the Front End: Some Resources

A new client has asked for some information on how consideration patents and IP at the front end of the innovation/product development process can enhance business value.  Readers of this blog might find this material informative, also. This is a published article from Innovation Management article entitled “How to Improve Innovation ROI with Early Stage Patent Expertise.”  In this article, I discuss how IP can help orient innovation teams in a direction that can enhance value capture.  Practical steps to implement such a program into innovation processes is included in this article. Here is a YouTube video that explains my process simply.  In short, including IP at the front end of a company’s innovation process allows one to enhance their calibration with respect to the IP rights of others to better ensure that they will achieve the desired ROI on innovation investment. This blog post describes how a large company failed to capture the full value of its deep investment in a new product innovation.  These folks (the name has been changed to protect the not-so-innocent) failed to grasp that their innovation was not a product, but a customer solution.  This first-to-market Fortune company did not understand that the customer Continue Reading →

The Apple vs. Samsung Verdict Actually Demonstrates that Patents Do Promote Product Innovation

In the time that the Apple vs. Samsung patent fight has been underway, we have been inundated with an untold number of articles on how Apple is stifling innovation in the SmartPhone world.  (Haven’t seen these:  just do a Google search for “Apple stif . . .” you don’t have to type any more than this–the search auto-completes itself.) I often take a contrarian view from that stated by most “expert” commentators–be they members of the press or actual patent professionals, and the Apple v. Samsung verdict is no exception:  I think the result actually demonstrates that the patent system is working just fine in this instance, thank you very much.  But how can this be when Samsung got hit with more than a BILLION US DOLLAR jury verdict last week?!?  Doesn’t the fact that Samsung could not make a product without infringing Apple’s multitude of patents mean that Samsung is effectively prevented from competing with Apple in the Smartphone market? Not necessarily, as is shown by this great post from The Verge entitled:  ”How Android has evolved while steering clear of Apple’s designs”.  What is most interesting to me about this article is how we see that while making Continue Reading →

Google Changes the Game Again–This Time for Patent Owners and Those Who Serve Them

Patrick Anderson of the great Gametime IP blog reported the details of Google’s new prior art searching tool*.   This is such important news, I thought it important to repeat it in a separate post.  Patrick provides detailed instructions for how to use the Google patent searching tool, and I will not repeat that information here.  This post provides commentary on why I think this is a very good development for the patent world.   Google’s original announcement on its blog is here.  It does not appear coincidental that Google is upgrading its patent searching capabilities:  in this press release from June 2010 we are informed of the partnership between Google and the USPTO to increase the amount of US patent information available to the public. When used correctly, Google’s tool can help “democratize” the patent analysis process by putting more power in the hands of those who are not part of the closed “guild” of patent professionals.  For example, before spending money on a search (and the opinion that most patent professionals will insist on writing to put context to the search), an inventor can herself get a feel for not just the patentability of her invention, but also Continue Reading →

How to Improve your Innovation ROI with Early Stage Patent Expertise: In Depth Management Article

This article, How to Improve your Innovation ROI with Early Stage Patent Expertise,  was published in late 2010 as a pay for download article in Innovation Management Magazine.  It later became free for download, and I can share it with readers in this link.  I hope those responsible for creating value from IP in their organizations can find the insights in this article helpful.  Here is a synopsis: Innovation teams are often removed organizationally from a company’s patent matters. This can mean that corporate innovation processes move forward with little or no consideration of whether competitors can legally “knock off” the resulting consumer offering. Companies may then not attain expected ROI because competitors can legally copy the innovation—be it a product, technology or otherwise—without incurring legal liability. It may not always be necessary to protect innovation efforts with patents, such as where a product has a short shelf-life or where the company may desire to maintain trade secret protection for the technology. However, for innovation endeavors where go-forward financial models assume exclusivity, companies often require patent protection. Also, the absence of patent insights at an early stage frequently means that innovations are not properly scoped for potential infringement risk until significant Continue Reading →

My Gift to You: Free (or almost free) Patent Searching and Analysis Tools

Happy Holidays everyone!  I woke up this morning to the Christmas sunrise over Miami Beach on Christmas morning.  Having grown up in this town–where Christmas means a trip to the beach, not the joy of new ice skates–I am feeling a whole lot of holiday spirit.  This made me realize that I have been meaning to respond to some inquiries folks have made about patent searching tools that I use in my daily IP Strategy work.   Since most of these are free (or almost) free, consider this your holiday gift from me! I hear it now:  “Free?  Did she say free?  But, such and such company wants to charge me $1500 a month, which is a much better deal than my lawyers charge me for monitoring patents in my business space on an ongoing basis.  And, this consultant offered to do a whitespace analysis that would solve all my innovation issues for $20K, which seemed like a deal, given how much time he said it would save my team so that we could get our new product lines to market so much faster.” Certainly, in the last few years, there have been countless business models that have sprung up to Continue Reading →

How Patent Whitespace Analysis Can Set a Company Up for Sustainable Failure

I spent a few days last week at the Innovation Cubed Conference in Orlando.  While there, I heard two instances of use of a term that I absolutely hate, at least when it is used by innovation professionals to define in some manner the innovation processes of their respective organizations.   This word is: PATENT WHITESPACE ANALYSIS Not only do I hate this phrase, I think that companies that utilize patent (or IP) whitespace analysis to define their product and technology development pathways are quite possibly setting themselves up for failure.  And, it’s bad enough that a single innovation project might fail as a result of the faulty data inputs that can occur from relying on whitespace assessments, but I think that most corporate processes incorporating patent whitespace analysis are based upon faulty methodology, thus setting the organization up for sustainable failure. For the uninitiated, when applied to the patent world, the term “whitespace” designates an analysis methodology that identifies the absence of patents in a particular product or technology area as a primary driver of innovation decision-making.  This term has been used for some years by patent and business professionals alike to provide information about whether one can obtain Continue Reading →

Patent Information is a Necessary Calibration Tool: How the Pilgrims’ Journey is a Metaphor for the Innovation Process

Regular readers of this blog will recognize that I am a strong advocate of the use of patent information in the front end of innovation processes.  (More on this here, here and here.)  Relatively few innovation professionals actually do so, however, likely because it can be difficult for innovators to understand how to change the longstanding paradigm where lawyers are perceived to be the people who “put the ‘no’ in innovation.”  Put simply, I find that innovation professionals prefer to leave anything smelling of legal advice out of the front end of their processes because they think they will not be able to do their jobs if the lawyers show up to their meetings. Of course, it makes little sense for innovation professionals to make significant business decisions involving new products or technology without also knowing whether they will be able to own the fruits of their innovations or whether a competitor will be able stop them from moving forward.  To this end, I have been working for sometime to develop a metaphor to demonstrate how the use of patent information can improve the outcome of innovation processes.  And, I think I have succeeded in doing so–in one word:  PILGRIMS. Continue Reading →

Jackie Hutter Speaking at the Minneapolis May LES Meeting

I love meeting my online friends and collaborators IRL (“in real life”).  If any of you are located in the Minneapolis area, please consider attending May 11, 2010 LES meeting where I will speak on collection and analysis of patent data.   I am being sponsored by this event by my client Clyde Hanson of Venture Isles. Here is the information as circulated by Mr. Hanson: You are welcomed to attend the luncheon even if you are not a member.  Ms. Hutter is an advisor to Venture Isles and we have worked together on many projects.  She is a self-described “recovering patent attorney”, a prolific blogger and a sharp intellect so it will be a high-energy event.  The food is by D’Amico has been consistently good.  Save room for dessert.  Please register at: LES USA/CANADA How to Properly Collect, Analyze and Leverage Patent Information to Enhance Your Licensing Programs Speaker: Jackie Hutter, MS, JD    The Hutter Group:  IP Business Strategy Patent data can provide much value to licensing programs by allowing one to identify potential licensees, partners or infringers.  However, one must know how to collect and analyze such data in a way that provides relevant and actionable insights.  An experienced Continue Reading →

New Study Reinforces Value of Patents in Venture Capital Investment

Regular readers of the IP Asset Maximizer Blog will know that I am a strong advocate of the use of IP analytics by venture capital investors, as well as others.  Clearly, VC’s need better ways to gauge the appropriateness of an investment when more than 50% of venture investment is a loss. My point of view is based on personal experience with various clients, as well as external review of a few investments that I thought signaled that a review of the IP landscape should have been conducted prior to completing the deal.  So, I was glad to see my opinions backed up by real data.  Specifically, my friends at IP Vision, a patent landscaping and data company originally out of MIT, conducted an extensive study of 9,000 venture backed firms.  The study was done with investors, corporate executives and members of the faculty at MIT Sloan School of Management. Joff Wild discusses provides an overview of the results on his IAM Magazine blog.  (The original article is behind a pay wall at IAM Magazine, but I will post a link to it when it available for review in the future.)  What I find interesting, is that the baseline for Continue Reading →

How to Improve the Performance of M&A: Determine Whether the Target Really Provides Durable Competitive Advantage

Recently, I was asked to speak to a Georgia Tech MBA class about IP Strategy–specifically about the inter-play of IP in M&A.  A significant portion of my talk addressed how poorly existing due diligence and IP metric methodologies traditionally perform to predict the financial success of M&A transactions.  There is no question that improvements are needed in this regard.  For example, in 2006, Inc.com reported that 60-70 % of acquisitions fail and more than 90 % of acquired businesses lose value. These somewhat dismal results leave no doubt that acquiring companies need better sources of information to properly vet and select acquisition targets. Having been involved in M&A transactions as a legal and business advisor over the years, I have developed unique insights on the the due diligence and IP metric processes from both sides of deals.  In these deals, the highest (and presumably most expensive) advice of investment bankers and M&A attorneys directed the deal flow.  Significantly, however, much like a real estate transaction, these advisors took their money at the close of the deal and left my client with the property.  These advisors had no incentive to ensure the house was in good shape after they walked away Continue Reading →