When people refer to patent and IP strategy & management, they are usually thinking of issues such as: how to select where to file, how to handle prosecution, and how to have the strongest defensible patent in any potential litigation. A patent prosecution firm specializes in such activities. However, this doesn’t adequately address the broader context of business strategy. A critical point to consider is determining the true value of your intellectual property by assessing how your patents are working for you. So who is manning the decks of your intellectual assets?
At the end of the day, a patent is not something to frame and hang on the wall, but a leveraging tool to create value. This tool can be exercised actively (like a stock option) by seeking licensing agreements and royalty fees, or it can be asserted in a court of law in seeking remuneration from an infringer.
For a technologically-driven company, in such a context, constructing an effective portfolio of patents is essentially the equivalent of laying the foundations of a business. It can raise the valuation for an outright sale of the IP, act as a strong incentive for partnering with larger well-established players (in joint development or patent pools, for example), attract more investor interest, and create platform positioning to maintain industrial longevity as opposed to a fast exit.
In many, if not most, cases, such strategizing goes beyond the skill set of the typical patent attorney. However, a patent attorney can be a valuable validation source for business schemes when counsel is made aware of the stakes, and included in the patent-analysis discussion of an IP strategy & management framework. Due to the structure of most large intellectual property firms, this becomes too unwieldy to manage, and too expensive to offer as a full-blown service. A patent valuation analysis firm has more and more frequently become the provider to fill the niche. Large corporate entities with significant in-house IP staff attempt to bridge this gap as well by making dotted-line associations to the CEO and CTO of the company. However, current IP strategists see the need for a CIPO (Chief IP Officer) to become the norm, not the exception in big business.
Stepping back for a moment to consider the small-to-medium entrepreneur, how does such an individual access the required broad knowledge base, spanning the technical, legal, and business aspects, of a new venture or proposition? An emerging group of IP specialists has enabled such competencies to be provided as a consultancy service. Starting from patent analysis as a core capability, this includes risk assessment, IP analytics, and patent mapping to fully understand the competitive landscape in which one conducts business.
FlashPoint IP excels at bridging strategic business considerations into the traditional technical/legal framework using patent analysis. Such approaches allow one to discover the “red and blue oceans” in the value chain of one’s innovations and IP strategy & management.
Such business techniques, in a more informal framework, have led to the emergence of patent auctions, upfront patent valuation in the due-diligence process, and the non-practicing entity (NPE, née patent troll) as a viable stakeholder. A patent valuation analysis firm alongside IP speculators often are looking to IP as a “pure play” instrument.
The more analytical approach to financially leveraging the patent-planning process through patent mining (broad and deep patent analysis) during the formation of a business-development strategy has yet to make its full impact. Working with your patent counsel, consultants, and your own staff as a team to incorporate strategic considerations will be a differentiating feature for the leading corporations of tomorrow – in essence, truly proactive IP strategy & management.
The ultimate synergistic benefits – which can have a positive explosive impact on IP valuation – come from pooling these resources into the discussion at the inception of a new business venture (and the IP transactions that can result from it), providing turn-key solutions from inventors to investors.
FlashPoint IP, a leading patent valuation analysis firm, endeavors in this regard to provide an enlightened perspective for its clients to move forward with business ventures with the assurance of being well-informed. FPIP strives to implement these diverse issues into a unified framework, using patent analysis in a business context. Our engagement managers are adept at synthesizing the many facets needed to create a winning formula for your IP. Contact us to discuss your options regarding IP strategy & management, and how best to advance your business interests.