How outsourcing IP reporting might be key to a successful IP strategy

Historically speaking, IP assets have not always been considered a top financial priority in boardrooms across the globe, primarily because they are often deemed to be invisible when it comes to financial accounting. However, when organisations place value on creating and protecting IP assets, it ensures that their most lucrative ideas are being protected from others and leverages their intellectual property to create new sources of revenue. So, while intellectual property is not recognised as an asset on every company’s balance sheet, intangible assets are essential for determining an organisation’s strategic direction and guaranteeing its financial success.

There are many ways to ensure that the value creation of intellectual property is recognised. One is to conduct and communicate IP analysis. However, IP reporting can be a somewhat tricky and cumbersome task for many organisations, which in turn can create a barrier to this value realisation. With the onset of the pandemic, many entities saw budgets and resources slashed, leaving minimal time for evaluating the value of ongoing IP investment. Limited resources and time to build this value case leads many entities to outsource their IP reporting. Experts can create customised dashboards and visualisations based on IP trends and analysis, which bring patents to life in the boardroom and provide clear actionable insight, ensuring strategic alignment and enhanced decision making.

Staying ahead of the competition

Evaluating a company’s portfolio against that of its competitors is critical to staying ahead in the market. High-level analysis of the patent portfolios of some of a company’s closest competitors provides a broad summary, but outsourcing executive-level reporting goes further to ensure that it has the right expertise on hand for evaluation and planning.

For example, outsourcing the creation of detailed taxonomy structures by patent experts in patent collection and analysis not only removes the lengthy process of individualised patent review, but also guarantees that industry experts are conducting a more granular patent analysis, which allows for a much more insightful comparison with competition. Further, the creation and curation of customised taxonomy structures also enable a company’s portfolio to be organised in alignment with how its internal reporting is conducted (eg, comparing different operating divisions, regions and technologies), which makes the information much more relevant and easier to relay internally.

Combining these curated taxonomies and patent organisational structures with powerful visualisations means that a company’s metadata can be immediately turned into actionable insight. This helps the organisation to become much more efficient in their evaluations of intellectual property, allowing it to quickly spot trends, decipher strengths and weaknesses, and ask the questions that will drive growth and support the rapid roll-out of strategic plans. Further, once initial taxonomies are in place, the company can then benefit from regular updates and alerts based on its own portfolio and that of its competitors, helping it to take the pulse of the market.

Increase revenue potential

The covid-19 pandemic is just one example of how radically organisations can change. It has highlighted the need for businesses to continuously reassess their strategies and to ensure that they are adaptable and resilient. One of the ways to achieve this is by exploring new methods to generate additional sources of income. Outsourcing executive-level IP reporting can help by looking for revenue streams beyond what is commonly seen in traditional revenue reporting. For example, strategic dashboards comparing the licensing potential of the current intellectual property held by one business unit versus another can help to uncover the revenue stream potential from licensing across different departments. Leveraging additional useful information, such as citation analysis, can also aid critical revenue decisions (eg, identifying suitable licensing candidates that will result in future monetary creation).

Another area to consider when it comes to increased revenue potential is the cost savings that come with effective IP management. With a growing portfolio, fee management can be lengthy and time consuming. However, it is crucial for identifying patents that can be pruned from a portfolio. Analysis of maintenance fee forecasts and savings projections dashboards not only streamline the entire process, but also provide quick answers to integral questions, such as which patents to keep and renew, and which to abandon.

Improve internal communication

Effective internal communication is critical for business success yet can often be extremely difficult to achieve. In the IP world, disparities in communication and collaboration between IP and R&D teams is not a new phenomenon. Both departments tend to have diverse sets of priorities, goals and processes in managing innovation, therefore presenting obvious barriers to successful integration and collaboration. Outsourcing IP-related tasks can significantly help to bridge the gap in IP communication, even beyond that of IP and R&D teams. For example, one common factor in miscommunication is the use of too much technical jargon, which does not translate across departments. In this case, outsourcing can assist in analysing and reporting on the company’s portfolio by using plain, non-technical language that is familiar to every department. This makes the information much easier to interpret and provides a shared understanding.

In summary, intellectual property plays a powerful role in business strategy, but realising and exploiting its value is contingent on strong reporting and communication. Leveraging experts in the field, outsourcing important strategic and tactical IP-related tasks can ensure that organisations achieve a much deeper understanding of their portfolio and its potential for future return on investment. Expert visualisations of data provide clear messaging, highlight important issues quickly and are extremely effective in communicating IP information cross-functionally, therefore assisting organisations in collectively making better informed decisions that affect their strategic direction.


This is an Insight article, written by a selected partner as part of IAM's co-published content. Read more on Insight

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