The breakneck, disruptive pace of technology advancements over the past 25 years has resulted in an unprecedented number of global patent filings. In 2016, for example, more than 3.1 million patent applications were filed worldwide across more than 160 patent offices, an increase over 2015 filings by 8.3%, according to the World Intellectual Property Organization.
In the midst of these remarkable technological advances and the imperative to patent, we simultaneously have endured one of the most tumultuous global economies seen in several decades. Practically all industries were adversely affected one way or another, which required companies to take a closer look at how they spend money.
Patents are especially subject to budget pressures because they are not tangible corporate assets and are the most expensive intellectual property to acquire and maintain. This costly nature is often amplified by internal and external counsel, who often fail to connect patenting strategy to building corporate assets aligned with corporate objectives, causing the corporate perception of patents to be merely a cost center rather than a profit center.
Consequently, most companies take a hatchet to their patent budget without considering the deleterious effect on the resulting patent assets and how their companies will lose corporate opportunities by doing so. Companies must employ a scalpel, and not a hatchet, when searching for cost savings.
A Smarter Way to Patent
Patent and corporate strategies should align and mutually reinforce and support the other. Companies must embrace and utilize data-based objective analyses to align business goals with filing strategies and portfolio management decisions to optimize the value of the patents procured while at the same time minimizing the costs involved. Companies should integrate strategic business goal alignment algorithms, comprehensive competitor analytics, and patent strength analytics to build a successful patenting strategy.
A patent strategy in today’s disruptive age should:
- protect market potential and growth of the technology, including current and future research and development, product pipelines, and commercial efforts.
- be based on a strategic filing, examination, and maintenance strategies that capitalize on early indicators of patentability, jurisdictional realities, and company objectives.
- address how patent assets can be leveraged through collaborations, external innovation, corporate opportunities, product exclusivity, and other monetization methods.
- elevate the innovative culture of the company and the reputation of the company in the industry.
- create blocks where competitors are working.
- include strategically abandoning patents when business activities are no longer aligned with jurisdictional realities.
Successful companies will embrace the ongoing innovation paradigm shift by thinking smarter to continue to build corporate patent arsenals that can be leveraged as assets to drive innovation, collaboration, and monetization opportunities. Doing so may transform company patent departments into corporate asset centers providing corporate benefits through leverage. By approaching patenting in a smarter way, it is possible to lower costs of managing patent portfolios while simultaneously strengthening a company’s patent position.
Download this white paper to see how one firm outlines their vision for a smarter future for global patent portfolio management.