7 Signs You Need an IP Management Solution

By Peter Ackerman

Not sure if your team is ready to implement a robust intellectual property management solution? Here are 7 telltale signs you need an IP management solution.

1. Your rate of innovation has slowed down.

To increase your competitive edge, you have to keep up the quality as well as the quantity of your intellectual property. To do that you have to keep innovating. If your innovation engine seems sluggish, or worse, you have no idea, it’s time to check out the state of your infrastructure technology. Are your organization’s researchers and legal professionals disconnected? Are they surrounded by files, notebooks, pens and pencils? If yes, our question is, why are you operating like it’s 1988? There are purpose-built IP software solutions that connect key stakeholders and streamline the invention disclosure and review process. You can do business at the speed of business.

2. Inventors lack motivation.

If you’re getting outpaced by the competition, one area to look at is the rate at which your organization’s scientists, engineers and other knowledge workers are submitting ideas. Research has shown that the volume of idea submissions increases when the submission process is made easier. People are simply happier when their ideas see the light of day and become visible to their peers and leaders. It is also true that if inventors have continuing visibility of their ideas through the review process, they are motivated to participate more often – increasing the quality and speed of your innovation engine. Add in automated award notifications and it gets even better. Modern IP management software does these things with ease.

3. Value is wasted.

There is potential IP value worth tens of billions of dollars wasted annually by innovative organizations because it is hard for stakeholders to find it. Also, the R&D efforts of distributed workforces often overlap and thus waste valuable time and resources. Good IP management software provides an easily searchable and organized central repository, as well as secure permissioned access. And that is how you fill in the cracks and tap more potential value.

4. Collaboration is inefficient.

Most modern organizations are distributed or global in some form or fashion, but many still rely on emails and attached documents as their primary information exchange vehicle. Again, how late ‘80s. Successfully innovative companies eliminate extra steps, make it easy to exchange information through a single system, automate alerts and notifications, and streamline the communication process. You can do this too.

5.  The churn from invention disclosures to patent applications is too slow.

You’re not alone if your organization has yet to catch up with the America Invents Act (AIA). Now that the U.S. is a “first-to-file” jurisdiction, it’s a race to the patent office and your competitors are not standing still. Ideas must move through the process quickly – from internal submission, through your review cycle, to the decision whether to pursue patent protection and the drafting and filing of an application. There is no way to do this manually and expect speedy results. Intellectual property management software can get you there.

6. You’re not sure if your information is secure.

If you’re using spreadsheets, file folders, banker boxes, emails and attached documents containing confidential information, hopefully you’re still sleeping well. But you’d have good reason if you’re not getting enough sleep. We live in an increasingly competitive world and security concerns are valid. Contain, control and secure access to your valuable data. Be consistent with nondisclosure agreements and use a modern IP management system.

7. Are you saving money? Making money?

This might be the biggest sign of your need for a good IP management solution. Do you know how much you’re spending on legal and government fees to maintain your IP? Is it money well spent? Do you even measure such things? Odds are you have little to no visibility into the relationship between your innovation activities, patents and other IP assets, associated licenses, products and contractual obligations, and connected costs and income. Now that would be powerful. Look for an IP management solution that can do that for you.

[This post originally appeared at Decipher.]

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