The goal of effective and efficient IP Processes is to build shareholder value. Many authors and conferences have addressed IP Processes and their complexity. The subject was best summarized by Lex van Wijk in his paper on the subject. He summarized how the interaction of many elements creates an effective patent asset management system. These elements were patent strategy, invention evaluation, measurement of IP performance, IP culture, alignment of strategies and business endorsement. A visual way to see this is in the “Segmentation and Interaction of IP Processes” figure. This figure also segments various elements into (1) those which IP supports analysis and (2) those that are actively embedded in business management.
From a process-flow standpoint, IP processes were arranged as a flow from a company’s vision along to a company’s products and services. This work, shown in the “Intellectual Assets Process Flow” figure, was done as part of the Gathering 1 under Patrick Sullivan’s leadership. When of the key discovering this by this group of individuals was how tightly linked using intellectual property data in competitive assessments was to creating shareholder value. It was using such information to guide product initiation and projects sourcing decisions that had huge impact. R&D organizations that utilize such processes began to outperform those that did not. For organizations that had large portfolios it was also found cost-effective to codify the intellectual asset knowledge decision on how to best use the asset. Integrating into decision-making teams the appropriate individuals from the various R&D, marketing, legal and financial also greatly increased the value that could be extracted from each asset.
Thinking about managing intellectual assets can also be done from the standpoint of three questions: What do you do? When you do it? How do you do it? The Intellectual Assets Process Flow Figure shows you can answer the “what do you do?” question from the standpoint of both external drivers and market goals. Once you have decided “what do you do”, the next question is “when you do it?” This question can be answered from the standpoint of planned reoccurring activities or opportunistic ones that present themselves sporadically. Once deciding “when you do it” the “how do you do it” question is segmented into whether or not conventional intellectual asset protection of patents, copyrights, and trademarks is sufficient, or should unconventional intellectual asset protection be advised. The cycle is completed by reassessing all elements in the cycle either periodically or event driven, such as an M&A activity.