If you read yesterday’s post, you may have gone away thinking that I just bash patents 100% of the time. Not true. My position is that for the bootstrapped small entrepreneur who is implementing a clever, but probably not novel, business concept, a patent may not be in order.
But, I fully understand that some companies actively manage intellectual property portfolios in order to gain or maintain strategic advantage. And they have hundreds of thousands of dollars, if not millions, to spend on management. For these companies, I will be explaining in future innovation posts how they can adopt a broader and more valuable system of IP management.
Intellectual property management often starts at the point of a disclosure. An employee invents or designs something that has merit to be novel and patentable. The company determines if the cost of prosecuting a patent application is warranted (is the invention strategic, is it indeed novel, is there prior art, how much will it gain the company versus cost the company?). Patent applications are filed, extensions are filed, variations are created, patents received are defended, etc. The company owns a comfy bundle of strategic IP.
In a nutshell, I will be outlining a front end system that integrates with these current systems – an expanded view of what “intellectual property” is. The system does two things:
- Provides and captures a strong market-based understanding of customer and stakeholder value. The idea here is that if your company understands customers and stakeholders better than the competition, you are in a much better position.
- That greater understanding provides you the fodder to brainstorm and innovate solutions that your competitors can’t envision. So, instead of waiting for some random event to produce a disclosure, and then hope that it is strategic and valuable, you create your own. Inventions, that because they were borne of a deep understanding of value, are much more likely to be valuable parts of your IP portfolio.
No patent bashing, I promise.