It is very common to hear IP professionals talk about providing an IP strategy, but what does that mean and is it really a strategy they are providing or is it a set of tactics?
A true strategy is governed by the long term goals of your organisation and sets the path that you need to follow, the IP strategy has to follow the company strategy. The mechanisms by which you achieve those goals are the tactics, i.e. choice of IP protection, geographic patent filing plans etc. It is fundamentally important that all stakeholders understand and buy in to the IP strategy and that all team members understand and take ownership of the tactics for which they are responsible and how they contribute to the wider strategy of the organisation.
An example of using IP strategy and tactics
Let’s take the example of a business undergoing a digital transformation, this could be an engineering or medical technology firm realising the business impact of the Internet of Things (IoT). The long term goal of that company is to move towards a more digitised product offering whilst still maintaining its core offering. The IP strategy to follow that, assuming no increase in budget, would be to maintain IP protection for the core in a reduced, more focussed manner whilst ramping up IP protection in the digital space.
The tactics of how this is achieved include engaging with a IP counsel specialising in the digital space, review of the current IP portfolio to actively prune it and free up budget for new filings, IP mining sessions with digital development teams, review of geographic patent filing plans with a view to digital markets, a review of the types of product level IP protection employed, competitor analysis in the digital space.
It is important to be able to show progress in following a strategy and key performance indicators (KPIs) are essential. However, it is important that the KPIs chosen use quantifiable data, in the example above a KPI would be percentage of patent applications classified in the IoT patent classification, another would be the number of invention disclosures received with a keyword of “Digital”. Progress should be shown towards a long term goal that matches that of the company, for example if the companies goal is 50% of revenue from IoT related products 50% of all new patent filings could relate to these products. It is also important that IP portfolio vitality reflects the vitality of the product portfolio.
Whilst an engineering or medical technology company undergoing a digital transformation was chosen as an example, the principles of IP strategy vs IP tactics and how you execute against both are universal across all technology areas.
How can Murgitroyd help?
At Murgitroyd we work with you to understand your company’s business plan and strategy and align your IP strategy with this and can provide the IP management services and tools required to execute the tactics required to fulfil this strategy successfully.
Speak to our attorneys to find out more.