Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The Top 5 Reasons to Review your IP Management Process

At Anaqua we work with all kinds of IP professionals – ranging from paralegals and lawyers that are part of teams of hundreds to sole practitioners managing a few dozen IP records. Amazingly, in our dialog with clients and prospects we constantly run into the same 5 issues that motivate them to review their IP Management Process.

·        Balancing in-house resources and Outside Counsel expenses

·        Controlling rising IP costs

·        Bringing IP operations In-House effectively

·        Reducing the risk of missed deadlines

·        Aligning your IP portfolio with your business and making better IP decisions

We’ve developed an Executive Brief that outlines these challenges, and discusses best practice solutions to improve your IP Management Process. It is written especially for those managing smaller portfolios, but the same challenges apply no matter what is the size of your IP portfolio.

To download a copy click here.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Six ways to create value from your patent portfolio

Bruce Story, Senior Advisor at ipCapital Group and former Senior Director, Intellectual Capital Management, with The Dow Chemical Company, was the featured speaker in one of Anaqua’s IAM Leadership webinars. He spoke on “Creating a Strategic Patent Portfolio” and discussed the challenges IP managers face in today’s economy and how they can respond to help the business and enhance the role of the IP team now and for the future by creating a strategic patent portfolio. He was particularly focused on the issues facing smaller companies.
Bruce pointed out that IP is a strategic tool for companies to maximize ROI on innovation in a number of ways:
  1. Grow competitive advantage … establish a strong offensive and defensive IP portfolio
  2. Protect brand … focus IP protection on elements that support the brand
  3. Grow transaction leverage … posture for deals with companies and/or potential collaborators
  4. Create value for potential investors … increase valuation for next round of VC funding, IPO or M&A
  5. Generate licensing revenue … connect core IP to external market needs
  6. Define boundaries … create freedom to operate to avoid lawsuits
It is important that senior management and the Board discuss these ROI alternatives. Defining and agreeing to the type of ROI you want from IP allows you to build a strategy to get there.

You can view a recording of Bruce Story’s webinar here.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Celebrity IP

The other day I got promoted to First Class on my flight home from Los Angeles. I sat down next to a woman and exchanged pleasantries with her. I asked what was taking her to Seattle and she responded that she was a “celebrity chef”.

“Really? That’s cool. So you are a chef for celebrities?” I asked.

“No, I am a chef that is a celebrity.”

Oh? OK. Says who? I looked her up once I got home and she has a couple books under her belt and an appearance on a fairly successful reality TV show. But she was no Rachel Ray or Wolfgang Puck. Is celebrity, like beauty, in the eye of the beholder? Or, is a chef’s celebrity a fact that can be proven statistically? I suggest celebrity is measurable and that there are numerous ways to demonstrate it.

Let’s turn this conversation to something more meaningful to us. Which of your Intellectual Assets are the celebrities? How do you know? We could probably argue ad infinitum the quality of a certain patent (whether it’s well written, has solid claims, etc), but it should be easier to measure its impact – its celebrity. That is, if we have the right tools. So, what tools do we need to measure the impact of individual assets? For one, we need to know how it relates to our business. Which products or services does it support? Secondly, we want to track how it impacts revenue. What are its direct and indirect impacts on revenue through licensing or other means?

How do we find the up and coming stars? Part of your responsibility is to defend the stars, but another is to identify and cultivate the next generation of stars. How do you find that diamond in the rough?

Unfortunately, there is no easy answer, and the approach will differ from one industry and organization to another. But one way to start is to develop processes and leverage tools that allow you to harvest the knowledge, experience and insight of multiple stakeholders. Gather the feedback from each of them into a collective understanding to inform the direction that you take with each of the auditioning hopefuls.

The next time you are on a plane and your row mates ask about your profession, tell them you are a Celebrity IP Manager. Then let them guess whether you are a manager of celebrity IP or an IP manager who is a celebrity.

- Written by Mark Bullard, Anaqua

Thursday, March 1, 2012

The Top Five Complaints about IP Management Systems

We talk to hundreds of people who have decided it is time to change their IP management system, so we hear a lot of complaints about their existing systems. Here are the top five problems they tell us about. (These have driven our development priorities for the ANAQUA system for years, but I’ll write about that another time).

1. Reporting – why is it so hard to get the information I need out of the system?

This is almost always the first topic to come up when we ask users what they are unhappy about with their old system. It is frustratingly hard to produce reliable, presentable data in response to even the most basic questions about the IP portfolio. Often this is because the system simply does not have the data correlated as needed to answer business questions. It is also because the reporting systems are limited and inflexible. It is time that IP teams had the same level of tools as the rest of the business – IP Business Intelligence anyone?

2. Too many clicks – and why do I have to switch screens so often?

This one comes from the docketers, particularly for those who remember the old client-server systems optimized for fast data entry. (For other users, if the system is too complicated to use, they simply don’t use it). Today’s systems use web browser technology and are often designed to serve many more users, not just docketers. It is critical that these applications be based on user-centric usability methodologies that recognize the different needs of docketers, attorneys, portfolio managers and other users. Letting each user organize the screens to match their needs is a good way to go.

3. Document Management – Why do I have to keep documents in shared folders?

The core problem is you want to keep all the information about your assets in one place so you know where to find things, but your system won’t let you, so you resort to shared folders, usually outside the standard security, back up and retention processes. Perhaps your company has an enterprise document management system (EDMS) – a popular choice for IT, but for the legal users? Not so much. Planning to collaborate and exchange documents with outside counsel? Not in the EDMS! Your IP system needs flexible document management, even if it also interfaces with the corporate EDMS.

4. No remote access – I can’t access the system when I’m traveling

No need to say much about this issue, except to emphasize that there is more to this than simply switching to a web-based system. You also need a system with security controls designed to allow you set up and manage data access at the detail level for a wide variety of user profiles for users inside and outside the organization. Thinking of outsourcing some aspect of your IP operations? Will your system allow you to give the required access to the outsourcer? Whether you host your system internally or rely on a vendor to host, you need this level of control and confidence.

5. It’s just a docketing system – we need a lot more

Whatever the complaints of the users, the main driver of change is the desire to go beyond docketing to intellectual asset management. To better serve inventors and business managers, to gain portfolio management tools to give the business better insight into the IP assets, to improve collaboration and productivity. In short, to gain the same level of systems infrastructure that our colleagues managing other important assets in finance, HR and manufacturing have enjoyed for years – it’s the IP team’s turn!