How to Connect Your IP
With Your Business Strategy

IP News and Information

It would seem like a no-brainer that companies would want to align their intellectual property with their corporate strategy if they want to reach see their IP reach its full value and potential. However, while that is an obvious objective, many companies fail to successfully achieve this goal. Intellectual property can be a very valuable asset if it’s used appropriately. However, without the right objectives and strategies in place, IP can lose a lot of its potential value and it can actually end up costing companies more money just to hold onto it.

Quality Over Quantity

One problem that many companies have is the pattern of focusing on quantity over quality. Indeed, one of the most common IP strategies of the past has been to apply for, and acquire, as many patents as possible just for the sake of having them. However, studies have shown that in reality only about 15 percent of most companies’ patent portfolios possess strong commercial value or potential value, which means there are a lot of patents that don’t have much value. Therefore, the strategy of focusing on obtaining as many patents as possible is not as effective as focusing on obtaining just the patents that have commercial potential. In other words, patent quality should be a company’s chief focus instead of patent quantities.

More Is Not Always Better

There are a few notable examples of companies that have found a lot of monetization success with just a few strong patents, rather than having a whole bunch of less desirable patents. Lycos, for example, has been able to capitalize on it’s relatively small stable of U.S. patents. Lycos is currently trying to divest some of its 22 U.S. patents, all of which have dozes or even hundreds of forward citations. In fact, Lycos previously sold some of its patents to Vringo, who is currently suing Google for infringement of some of these patents. If successful, these lawsuits could prove to be worth millions, if not billions, for Vringo, thus proving the theory that quality beats quantity.

Tips for Proper IP-Corporate Alignment

The bottom line for patent accumulation is that companies should focus on creating value and avoid patents that will only serve to add more cost. Owning IP can be an excellent source of business gains, but it can also be a liability of not handled properly. The only way to prevent this is to align one’s IP strategy with one’s corporate strategy. There are several ways to accomplish this:

  • Make sure foreign filings make sense – in many instances it’s a good idea to file for foreign IP rights as well as domestic rights. However, if filing for foreign rights really isn’t necessary, or having ownership of those rights doesn’t fit your international business needs, then you shouldn’t just automatically file for foreign rights.
  • Maintain constant evaluation of your portfolio – chances are your business will experience change, which means your IP portfolio will most likely need to change as well. That could mean unloading certain IP that no longer fits your corporate objectives.
  • Map your IP and compare it to competitors – Keep a close eye on market shifts and trends and assess how these will affect your IP. You can also determine what kinds of key patents will matter in the future. You need to closely monitor your competitors’ patent activity as well.
  • Monetize – Make sure you leverage your intellectual property by syncing it with your company’s commercial intentions and goals. Your IP can work for you and your bottom line, or it can simply be another expense that takes away from your bottom line.

Achieving Your IP Zen

“In the end, you have to be sure that your IP goals help you achieve your corporate goals,” according to IPTrader president, Arlen L. Olsen. “The two strategies must work hand-in-hand in order to be successful,” notes Olsen. That means in many cases, less is more. That might even mean it’s time to offload some of your underperforming IP, as well as IP that no longer fits into your corporate strategy. IPTrader can help you do this. Please contact us if you are looking to sell or license your IP, or you are interested in obtaining IP that better fits your corporate goals.