Subcategories of Cash Cows

Within the desirable Cash Cow portion of the figure, David Lambourne argues that there are four subcategories useful for executives’ decision-making process. Those are shown in the “Subcategories of Cash Cow” figure. In this model the Paper Cows (representing what was traditionally called paper patents), Plastic Cows (which are applications that have a good chance of being issued), true Cash Cows (which are enforceable against others), and finally Golden Cows (which provide both an ability to exclude others as well as derive external licensing revenue streams). For product needing intellectual property support it’s desirable to convert paper into Plastic Cows. Further, for strategic reasons, it may be desirable for at least one of the cows to be expedited into a Cash Cow, and if possible onto Golden Cow if the claims are broad enough to cover products outside the company’s area of interest.