Finding Ideas, Inventions and Creations in Companies: IP Audits IV
Case Experience 1 – IP Audit at a Large Multi-National Company
The case experiences are based on the 120 audits we had performed in India over the last ten years. The audits gave us invaluable insights into the role of IP in business in the Indian context, and we have tried to encapsulate some basic results/learnings at a macro level through these experiences. The names of companies and business details have been consciously avoided to comply with confidentiality covenants and professional obligations.
A large multi-national company specializing in heating, ventilation and air conditioning requested us for an IP Audit. It is an IP savvy company and uses IP in business very effectively. The company has a captive Research and Development centre in India. Though the centre has been making telling contributions in Research and Development, the centre’s contributions towards the patent portfolio of the company was very low.
Objective of the IP Audit
The company requested the IP Audit with a single objective in mind:
To increase the number of invention disclosures and number of patent filings from the Research and Development centre.
Following a review of the organisational structure of the Research and Development Centre, interviews were set up over a period of five days. The IP Audit team met with directors and senior personnel independently before meeting each team as a group.
Many teams gave presentations about the work they were doing, while others limited themselves to answering questions. From the presentations, interviews, etc., the audit team gathered documentation with respect to all ongoing projects, internal developments and other work at the Centre. The audit team also personally reviewed prototypes, softwares, tools, etc., to get an understanding of the technology and processes.
During the interviews, lot of time was spent on explaining patent concepts such as patentability requirements, prior art search, FTO analysis, marking, etc. Several practical examples were also provided to help different personnel disclose inventions they are working on.
After a thorough review and analysis of information gathered, the IP Audit team submitted its report. The findings were as follows:
Ideas/Inventions found: 208
Total Patents filed after the IP Audit: 56
Following the audit, the number of invention disclosures increased by two hundred percent for three years thereafter. Today, the company files more than fifty patents every year from its Research and Development Centre.
In addition to the increase in invention disclosures and patent filings, the IP Audit helped the company:
- Smoothen out rough edges in its process, and make the process more transparent. This later contributed towards an increase in invention disclosures;
- Disseminate IP/patent awareness among the employees, which improved not only the quantity, but also the quality of invention disclosures; and
- Modifications to the inventor incentive system to maximize results.
All IP Audits are however not so successful, the next experience will outline an IP Audit that went south.
Contributed with the support of the IP Strategy and Consulting Division of BananaIP Counsels.
For further information on IP Audits , write to [email protected].Our experts will respond to you at the earliest.
Other posts in this series-