An increasing portion of the capital of companies is tied to intellectual property. This means that the protection of intellectual property rights (IPR) gained importance in terms of protecting a company’s competence and obtaining information.
It is advisable for any company to prepare its own IPR strategy in order to protect the intellectual property and the related rights. This strategy provides guidelines for all operations of the company that pertain to intellectual property rights. In other words, it defines the company stance regarding various protection methods, how these methods are used, who is responsible for their management and how information about existing rights is utilised in the company’s business operations.
Planning an IPR strategy
When planning an IPR strategy, a company must first determine the starting point for the planning by finding out the following:
What intellectual property does the company own and control?
How has this property been protected?
What third party rights does the company utilise and what additional ones may possibly need to be obtained from external sources?
Who makes decisions regarding the use and protection of intellectual property within the company?
In addition, the risks related to intellectual property rights must be determined, along with any related commitments the company has made in its marketing, for example. The company must also appoint the persons who will be in charge of IPR matters.
During the next phase, the company must prepare a target operating model. On a strategic level, the company must, for example, decide on the type of IPR portfolio it will pursue, how it will prepare for defending the portfolio and what means it will employ to monitor the operations of its competitors.
The implementation and deployment of an IPR strategy
The practical implementation of an IPR strategy involves, for example, competitor monitoring and the continuous surveying of opportunities for licencing and R&D partnerships. The advance planning of operating models in cases of infringement is particularly important to ensure that the company can react and act quickly in the event of conflicts, in order to protect its own rights.
Training personnel and monitoring the plans defined in the strategy are also essential parts of the implementation phase of the IPR strategy. Depending on the size of the company, the implementation is conducted in various parts of the company. It may even be subcontracted to legal, patent or consulting firms.
Managers and personnel at the operative level carry the responsibility for the IPR strategy functioning in practice. The operative level should also collect information and experience, which are then passed on to the higher level in order to update the instructions and procedures. Updating the IPR strategy regularly yields the best possible benefit for the company.