In some organizations the effective development and use of innovation and intellectual properties are primary forces driving corporate success and shareholder value. However, many of the same organizations do not have a comprehensive base of information about the intellectual property assets they own, how these assets are being protected, and how they are creating value for the company. By contrast other companies can list their legally registered patents, trademarks and copyrights, but have no easily accessible information as to how those assets are being used in their business. Finally most companies have little information about valuable trade secrets and other confidential business information.

A comprehensive inventory of an organization’s intellectual property assets will address many of the issues listed above. An inventory should identify each intellectual property asset and cumulate relevant tracking and business-oriented information about each asset into a database. The database should also be structured to allow various intellectual property stakeholders to mine valuable intellectual property data and make informed decisions about the strategic position of the company, the organization’s future business direction, product service strategies, R&D and intellectual property development activities. All information contained within the intellectual property database system should be organized to allow intellectual property assets to be group, clustered, and analyzed to better understand the organization’s strategic advantage, comparative competitive positions in the marketplace, and future growth objectives. The resulting inventory database will also provide useful information for evaluating the success of intellectual property management activities.

An intellectual-property inventory database should use commercially available systems as its foundation. Home grown systems usually end up being more expensive and of limited utility over time.  Commercial systems are offered by many different service providers. Some are based on legally oriented intellectual-property docketing systems and others are based on patent searching and analysis software systems. As of 2017, and systems were being offered by Thompson, Questel, Anaqua, CPA, and others. A quick search on the Internet will provide a list of suppliers who solution ranges in complexity and cost. The paramount importance is to utilize a system that takes full advantage of all publicly available information as well as that which is confidential to the company. The latter includes which product lines the intellectual property protects.