Why? How? What?
The key to a successful strategy is to understand why we make decisions and on which basis we create a vision. Asking the following questions will give you guidance:
- WHY – Why are we opting for this solution over another one?
- HOW – How can we implement the strategy with the intelligence available at this time?
- WHAT – What are the tools, skills, solutions adapted to the chosen strategy?
This approach also applies to an Intellectual Property (IP) strategy, which will support companies to protect and develop their innovations in line with their strategic vision. It is possible to protect the following areas (https://www.wipo.int/about-ip/en/):
- Literary and artistic works – books, music, paintings, sculpture and films, computer programmes, databases, advertisements, maps and technical drawings
- Inventions – telephone, bicycle, electricity……
- Trademarks – sign capable of distinguishing the goods or services of one enterprise from those of other enterprises such as Nike or Apple logos
- Industrial designs – ornamental or aesthetic aspect of an object such as the Coca-Cola bottle design
- Geographical indications and appellations of origin – like Champagne
- Trade secrets – IP rights on confidential information which may be sold or licensed like the Coca-Cola recipe
The choice of the tools and methodology used to build an IP strategy will depend on the products and services offered by the company.
Benefiting from of a clear IP strategy
It will support the evaluation of the financial investment needed for each area making the difference between portfolios of strategic and non-strategic innovations. Therefore, the company will have a more targeted guidance to assess which innovation will be protected and for how long.
This will enable companies to better monitor their IP-related costs combined with a clearer vision on how they want to use them.
Important questions to consider
- WHY do we need to protect our innovations?
- WHY do we want to put our innovations in the market?
- HOW do we protect our IP? For how long? In which territory?
- HOW do we commercialise our innovations?
- HOW do we apply control to the way our partners are exploiting them?
- WHAT are the tools to protect our innovations (legally, commercially)?
- WHAT are the best commercial strategies to choose?
Let’s consider an invention protected by a patent. The companies can choose between all of the strategies listed below:
- Innovation manufacturing
- Licensing of an innovation
- Sales of the company’s patent rights
- Choice of a defensive strategy
- A mix of the above
Each company will need to build their own IP strategy to turn their innovations into assets for the company.