You cannot hit a goal without defining it first. The IP strategy defines this goal and is thus essential for proper IP Management.
With the IP strategy as the foundation, we can then build the process of identifying ideas, evaluating and protecting inventions and managing the IP portfolio to act and react to a changing environment.
Often many ideas are floating around in organisations. Maybe they are not relevant right now, but they may be vital in the long run. Meanwhile, the competition may have patented the idea already, leaving you empty-handed.
For this reason, it is essential to gather ideas early, evaluate them, and take action accordingly.
Once an idea has been classified as significant, the next question arises: Do we have the freedom to operate (FTO), and what relevant state of the art is out there?
A proper patent search at this stage is vital for two reasons:
- Developing a product that can not be sold due to the patent held by competitors is a significant failure. These risks must be mitigated in any combated market.
- Once the relevant state of the art is known, one can draft strong patents. A good draft minimizes the time and costs until the patent is granted and can become effective.
Here the classical handwork of a patent attorney is needed. This role is generally played by “your own” patent attorney.
Proper portfolio management aims to obtain protection for your goods, services and know-how in the most dynamic markets. All of these are subject to changes:
- the scope of your protection changes during prosecution,
- your goods, services and know-how evolve over time and
- the market changes.
That’s why your patent portfolio needs to be adjusted constantly to not waste money on the wrong things and build up a strong position in your market.