For large organizations with an intellectual asset management group the purpose of writing an intellectual asset strategic plan as part of the overall corporate strategic plan is to enable the company to align its R&D efforts and intellectual asset management with its overall business objectives. An intellectual asset strategic plan may include information resulting from the following tasks: describing the company’s overall business objectives; classifying intellectual assets into core and non-core categories; analyzing the company’s intellectual asset portfolio to identify strengths, gaps, and opportunities; determining objectives for both core and non-core intellectual assets; defining intellectual asset activities necessary to meet the intellectual asset objectives; and creating an R&D strategy consistent with the overall business objectives.
The process of developing an effective intellectual asset strategic plan includes identifying the company’s key business objectives. Once these have been identified, the following questions need to be addressed in order to develop the appropriate intellectual asset strategy: What is the strategic intent of the company? To what extent does a company want to invest its resources into protecting existing products as opposed to expanding into new products? Does a company want to block other companies from using its technology? Does a company want to share its intellectual assets with complementary entities? Does a company want to share its intellectual assets with competitors? Does a company wish to enter into any strategic alliances? Is a company willing to aggressively protect its intellectual assets? These questions are typically answered by interviewing individuals at the C level of the Corporation. Their answers and guidance can be audited against the corporation’s behavior over the last 3 to 5 years. Documenting the answers to these questions allows individual intellectual property strategic plans to be quickly formulated.
The dynamics and environment of the Corporation’s industry is one the most important things to take into account when setting up an effective intellectual asset strategic plan. Best practices to manage innovation can best be segmented by time to prototype and time to commercialize. The importance of these segmentation axes was found by a collaborative research effort between Dr. Roger Miller at the Polytechnic University of Montréal and the Industrial Research Institute (now called Innovation Research Interchange). The “Types of Innovation Environments” figure shows which typical industry segments fall into the 11 different categories of theoretical R&D game type. Further research showed that management of intellectual property at the strategic level also could be best understood by using these same segmentation elements and 11 categories. The “Management of Intellectual Property by Type of Innovation Environment” figure shows attributes of IP landscapes and practices best suited for each of the 11 categories.