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Smart IP Portfolio Management – Leveraging technology for better administration

By - Nandini Yadav Banda | 9 Aug 2021

Introduction: “Intellectual Property Management” or “IP Portfolio Management” has become imperative in today’s era of business innovations. Thanks to the advances in automation, the organizations’ most critical assets can be better managed and protected. Many institutions like public research entities, corporate organizations, enterprises, and universities have shifted from purely research-oriented policy targets to finding ways to develop business-focused IP management strategies.

What is “Intellectual Property Management” or “IP Management”?

The term “IP Management” refers to the administration and organization of Intellectual Property matters and the rights of any entity or organization engaged in the creation and commercialization of immaterial rights. IP rights mainly refer to any intangible asset that may have or draws a commercial value in the near future. It requires a professional and centralized organization to oversee the creation and commercial exploitation of such IP rights.

These rights are governed and regulated depending on:

  1. Jurisdiction

  2. Utility Models

  3. Trademarks

  4. Registered Patents

  5. Designs and plant variety rights

  6. Un-registrable rights, including copyright in research documents

  7. Computer programs

  8. Databases and database rights

  9. Unregistered design rights

  10. Topography rights

and any other immaterial asset, including inventions before patent application. This should also stretch to any other right such as domain names, rights in the name of an institution, and ultimately, rights that have been acquired by way of a license or assignment from third parties.

A robust IP management scheme allows enterprises and organizations to enhance freedom of operation by enabling technology transfer and establishing a customized IP culture.

How can Technology smoothen IP Portfolio Management?

With the growing and changing trends in organizations, enterprises are going the extra mile to protect their IP Rights. The IP department is overstretched considering the sheer scale and volume of filings, competitor patent activity, and IP Rights and Laws changes. Automation, including AI and ML, has reduced the manual intervention and streamlined the IP Management system.

The digital phase has led to massive improvement in efficiency vis-a-vis paperwork. The attorney or any other related staff member doesn’t need a paper file handy to execute work; a digital copy suffices the purpose. This has reduced the overhead cost and has also increased the speed of service to the client, and allowed the IP members to focus on other vital services.

IP Portfolio Strategy Management: An IP portfolio can be best described as the chief document where information on IP aspects within a research (particular industry) or commercial entity is collated and organized. The primary purpose is to:

  1. Allow easy access to information about existing IP rights

  2. Enable organizations to align business and exploitation strategies using IP portfolios as a control point for exploitation, valuation, and enforcement of rights

IP portfolios are, today, generally administered by the use of specific database software allowing easy access. There is no standard approach to how an IP portfolio should be managed. This depends, ultimately, on the type of entity using it and its specific needs. In general, the purpose of an IP portfolio is to assist in business decisions and to allow for ongoing value creation by maintaining continuous clarity about the assets which do not pose a commercial value or are likely to come into being, and likewise to permit certainty about which rights have or will be subject to licenses and/or to which access had been granted to, for the benefit of third parties, such as in collaborative research. It adds in the monitoring of a central IP management division, the preparation and negotiation of contractual agreements, and application and exploitation strategies.

For example, initially, a business idea will not have any specific commercial value to its existence until it is being identified, examined, and is entered into any legal bonding or had itself legally registered. Such identification, examination, and management of the idea turn out to be of significant value if it is correctly put to exploitation. This whole process requires skilled management to protect the resources of the organization.

Automation, outsourcing, and IP management software (IPMS) now help IP departments and legal firms manage their IP portfolio more efficiently. As these solutions become more sophisticated, IP professionals are afforded the time to consider IP portfolios at a strategic level in four key phases of IP management – creation, protection, management, and optimization.

This automation effectively improves managing an enterprise’s IP, protect the data, decrease the risk, and enhance compliance with international legislation and settle the rights adequately.

Conclusion: In any enterprise, proper IP Management is required to prevent copying of assets, counterfeiting, theft of intellectual property, abusive use, and so on. IP rights are valuable business assets. The various ways an IP portfolio can help any enterprise create a barrier of entry to competitors, attract investors, and stand as value addition and improve the enterprise’s goodwill. Any enterprise or organization must have comprehensive IP protection on a product. It’s vital to pick and choose the appropriate IP rights and understand their scope in carving out a market section exclusively.

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