Extracting IP Value
This post was first published on May 10, 2011.
Intellectual Property (IP) plays a very important role in providing competitive and business advantage to a company. In order to maximize competitive advantage, a company must make the best and most of its intellectual assets. Extracting optimal value from IP does not start or end with protection. During a recent talk at a gathering of about fifty leading Indian companies, ninety percent of them stated that emphasis is always on protection and not much beyond that. The emphasis on protection is good for companies that never thought about IP ten years back but may not be enough in today’s changing IP environment.Is emphasis on IP protection enough? Of course, not. In order to maximize value from IP, a company must
Use its potential to generate IP to the maximum,;
Excavate IP that is being generated;
Strategically protect such IP;
Manage the IP portfolio efficiently;
Enforce IP strategically;
Commercialize its IP optimally; and
Avoid risks from IP of third parties rather than just focussing on IP protection.
The emphasis on all the afore-said aspects must be enough if not equal. Protecting IP aggressively and thoughtlessly will not take a company too far. Using potential, excavating, protecting, managing, enforcing and commercializing the IP in the light of its business goals will take the company to an appreciable distance. Only with thoughtful IP protection and management will a company attain optimal competitive advantage. Lack of business foresight will only result in wastage of valuable resources of a company.
Some steps that may be taken by companies looking to acquire valuable IP and maximize value derived from such IP are:
Establish processes to excavate the generated IP;
Protect IP strategically, in the light of business objectives of the company;
Take decisions on IP portfolios in the light of business goals;
Enforce IP aggressively; and
Take steps to avoid risks from others’ IP.One tool that can help a company lay out its IP path and enable it to take all the aforesaid actions is IP Audit. An IP Audit in India cannot be equated to a typical IP Audit that is known in IP savvy markets. An IP Audit in India, covers a very broad spectrum of activities, which will enable a company extract maximum value from IP. It is probably time to start thinking if the IP you are protecting really has the value you believe it has and see what can be done to take the value path.