As a leading business strategist, you understand that your company must “innovate or die.” In embracing this philosophy, you realize that intellectual property (“IP”) strategy is critical to your ability to successfully execute your company’s business plans. You also realize that your company’s IP constitutes a business asset that can (and should) be monetized, traded and sold, just like any other asset. And, like other assets, the goal should be to maximize these assets. Accordingly, you consider IP to be a critical aspect of your company’s business plans.
Unfortunately, the people that manage your IP assets, that is, your in-house IP legal team, may not be eager to introduce innovations into the IP management process that can significantly increase IP asset value. Your company may therefore be leaving significant “money on the table” because you do not have the right IP legal team in place.
I am now an IP Strategist and owner of an IP Strategy and Consulting Service. However, in my tenure as an in-house IP counsel at a multi-national corporation, I frequently experienced surprise and disappointment when my legal managers declined opportunities to introduce innovations that would indisputably maximize the value of the company’s intellectual property assets. I say “indisputably” because it was clear from benchmarking “best in class companies,” there was no doubt that inexpensive and fairly simple functional and process changes in the way our company managed and exploited IP would result in significant revenue return and efficiencies. Notwithstanding the clear benefit of introducing such innovations, my company’s IP legal management’s view effectively was “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”
In the months since I left my in-house counsel gig, I have spent considerable time trying to figure out why the corporate legal structure pushed so hard against innovating in the area of IP management. It would be easy to say something disparaging about my former managers, but this would neither be productive nor appropriate. Rather, I will use the words of a brilliant innovation strategist and say that the corporate IP legal managers that I reported to were “stuck in the old model.”