Thursday, September 17, 2009

Reflections on the IPO 2009 Annual Meeting

At the recently concluded Intellectual Property Owners (IPO) annual meeting in Chicago (Aug 13-15), attendees were provided an excellent conference agenda full of leading topics and speakers. IPO does a great job and I highly recommend the conference. There were a number of presentations and topics that particularly caught my attention, and I’ll be writing about these in the coming days. One interesting – albeit not entirely new – topic that came up in a number of sessions was the focus companies are placing on the efficiency and effectiveness of their patent filing process.

What was interesting is that while this scrutiny may have been initiated because of tighter budgets, the analysis is really much more about quality. Many companies said that they are being more careful with budgets, but they were not basing decisions on either individual filings or total IP spend entirely on cost considerations. Recent and pending changes in the scope of patent protection and enforcement (e.g. Bilski), continued uncertainty in global IPR systems, shorter innovation turnover cycles, and reevaluation of know-how and trade secret value versus public disclosure through patenting, are all considerations being more closely balanced. It will be very interesting to see trends in patent filing rates over the coming years – particularly as companies come out of the economic downturn – to see whether the early-2000 rates represented a bubble or if the 2008/09 decreases are merely an economy-driven blip. There were certainly strong opinions on both sides.

Our upcoming webinar October 1, 2009, is relevant to this topic. I was happy to hear that almost every IPO presentation made mention of the integral role of technology in the IP management process. And in our webinar entitled, Driving Quality and Cost Effectiveness in the Invention Disclosure Process, we’ll discuss how technology works hand in hand with IP strategy and process to meet the company’s objectives of better intellectual assets. We’ll review ideas of best practices in the disclosure process, as well as the latest Anaqua tools used by leading companies to automate their invention management. I encourage you to join us!

Register for the webinar by going to