It may not be widely accepted but it is common knowledge that most knowledge-driven companies, sit on their intellectual assets/intellectual property until it’s too late. Some may fail to recognize their valuable IP, others may show apathy, and others may not know what to do with the IP that they stumble upon. Even most IP-savvy companies sometimes fall into one of these three types. That being said, when a company does decide to increase its IP revenue, IP filing seldom proves to be a difficult task. All that the company will have to do is look inside through a powerful microscope, into its heaps of knowledge or just hire experts to do it for them.
Organizing an IP mining/audit exercise is one way of kick-starting or increasing IP filings. Several business-driven organizations, research/educational institutions have taken up IP mining/audit exercises in an effort to uncover their intellectual assets to take them forward for filing. Though these results may vary based on the nature of the organization, the field of technology and the business objectives among other factors, one important result is usually common: the exercise helps in identifying Unprotected, Valuable IP.
An MNC focusing on Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning, took up an IP audit with its primary objective of uncovering potential software patents at their R&D Center based in India. An upward of two hundred inventions were uncovered and more than fifty were taken forward to be filed for patenting. Being an IP-savvy company and a master at playing the Patent Game to its advantage, the company saw the exercise as a stepping stone towards strengthening its patent portfolio.
Conversely, an Indian Electronics Manufacturing Company, which took up the IP mining/audit exercise to initiate its filings, initiated the IP mining/audit when its potential investors wanted to see its intellectual assets before investing in the company. More than eighty inventions were uncovered but none were taken forward for filing, leading to failure of talks with investors and thus, their filing strategy.
A Premier educational/research institution conducted an IP mining/audit, uncovering more than forty inventions, but landed very few filings. This brought about a change in philosophy and a change in filing strategy. On the other hand, the IP audits taken up by several SMEs had a seemingly promising end or, rather, a start to their IP journey. More than forty intellectual assets were uncovered in ten of these SMEs and all of them went forward with filings.
Among the one hundred and seven (107) IP mining/audit exercises taken up by us, one inference unmistakably came to light. IP mining/audit is an excellent tool for uncovering intellectual assets and can strongly contribute to boosting the organization’s IP filing goals.
But how far will the organization go with its IP? Will its IP really add value to a business? The answer depends on the quality of IP, IP policies and systems and a range of other factors.
To conclude I would say that in order to increase IP filings, you need not move heaven and earth, but to maximize value from them, you may have to.
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