Proprietary Advantage

As organizations understand the importance of utilizing intellectual property information and intellectual property assets, a debate typically ensues as to whether or not a proposed new product or service has a need for proprietary technical advantage as part of its product development and launch. Simple way to answer this question was developed by PWC, as shown in the “Proprietary Advantage” figure.

Looking at the product functions that the new product or service will possess allows marketing to determine if its sales and profit targets resemble those of a commodity or new emerging technology or product.

Technology Actions

For projects that are absolutely in need of a proprietary technical advantage, the R&D organization must staff its project appropriately. This becomes important for the R&D organization is they look internally to create, or externally to access, the technical capability needed for project success. A matrix for facilitating this discussion is shown in the “Technology Actions” figure.

IP Actions

The same segmentation axes shown in “Technology Actions” figure can also be used by the intellectual property portfolio management team to set the posture for creating and managing the project’s intellectual property position. This is shown in the “IP Actions” figure. Unsurprisingly when the need to achieve a proprietary technical advantage is weak and the technical capability is available, there is little incentive for a company to invest in and maintain intellectual property as a business asset. In contrast, at the opposite upper right corner of the matrix active creation, renewal, and maintenance is critical to sustaining the product’s advantaged business position. The process of building and utilizing such frameworks is embedded in successful R&D organizations.