Intellectual property management

Good metrics program provide a framework for creative Intellectual Property management.

The real value of most companies today is less determined by their tangible assets than their intellectual resources. Intellectual property such as patents, technologies, ideas, and designs mostly keep leading companies ahead of their competition. It therefore becomes increasingly important for businesses at every stage of development to properly recognize, protect, maintain and, as necessary, commercialize their intellectual property.

In large companies, Intellectual Property metrics can be used to shape the strategy and focus of the overall Intellectual Property program. They can demonstrate in real terms the importance and value of a crucial part of the company's assets.

Usually, companies develop strategies in the areas of sales, profitability, production and overall process efficiency. However, Intellectual Property metrics can also be a part of the company's policy.

Intellectual Property metrics are based upon both internal and external factors. Internal metrics typically use internally generated data which allows the company to track Intellectual Property goals and objectives and determine areas of improvement. Alternatively, external metrics enable the company to evaluate and guide its Intellectual Property management program using information about the accomplishments and business results of its competitors and peers.

Intellectual Property metrics include technology development, risk assessment and management, revenue factors, intellectual assets management efficiency and some other areas.

A big challenge for many companies is to document and certificate important knowledge so that other professionals can benefit from their discoveries and innovations. Most companies use standard performance measures, such as growth, profit, and new product sales in order to evaluate the impact of knowledge management. Although these types of outcome measures are certainly important, they are rarely influenced solely by knowledge management activities. Therefore such metrics program is not effective.

An effective metric program for Intellectual Property management should comprise the following categories: Awareness (knowledge of what to document, and how to document it); Behavior (participation in knowledge management activities, including presentations, meetings etc.); Outputs (development of Intellectual Property data bases, white papers, reports, best practice documentation, etc.); Outcomes (impact of Intellectual Property management on key areas of organizational performance such as new product sales, productivity, process efficiency, cost reduction, and quality improvement). Intellectual Property management metrics should include both leading and lagging indicators.

In many large corporations, Intellectual Property management is only one of many programs or activities aimed at improving the overall efficiency and business performance. Intellectual Property management can be a part of the company's internal routine, or be implemented externally by professional legal organizations. In many cases, using external legal services to manage the company's intellectual assets provides more accurate and up to date results.

Intellectual Property metrics program should measure the company's success and ability to generate revenue from its intellectual assets. Such metrics include, among others, patent exploitation, licensing out revenues, and joint venture success. For instance, the company can rank its patents according to certain variables in order to determine how its patent portfolio is changing over time. The variables should reflect the goals and policies of this particular company.

In conclusion, Intellectual Property management program helps the company determine which intellectual resources and technologies (whether internally developed or externally obtained) are available, and how effectively they are utilized by the company.

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