Conclusion: solving the problem of risk

  • New tools will bring new opportunities for IP exploitation
  • At the heart of this will be new approaches to risk management
  • There are big opportunities for providers that can analyse IP assets in a business context

“In intellectual property in particular, the market is quite slow to change; people have concerns about risk and loss of capabilities,” notes the head of one service provider. “The speed of adoption is slower than other practice areas. Competition is slightly less intense.”

Another points to several “barriers” to new services being successful – including conservatism, lack of harmonisation and complexity. We could be approaching a tipping point, however, where the availability of data, new tools and innovative products brings a different approach to managing risk and with it new opportunities for IP exploitation.

“Until now, we haven’t really solved the problem of risk outside of renewals,” says one service provider. Now that is changing, as the whole patent lifecycle will be affected by technology. Existing service providers are well placed to exploit that if they can develop the right tools. “Maximising results from intellectual property means more information and greater access to analysis and insight,” comments one interviewee. But, as one provider says, another outcome is possible: maybe the industry will be disrupted by an Uber or Airbnb-type business.

By investing in new tools, promoting transparency and helping businesses see their intellectual property as a source of revenue rather than an expense, service providers will play a much greater role in the development and exploitation of patents and related IP assets. One interviewee goes as far as to predict: “We will gradually see a progression of intellectual property out of the legal industry.” As businesses increasingly view intellectual property as a commercial asset – and something that must be managed like other corporate assets – there are big opportunities for providers that help their clients to explore opportunities while minimising risks.

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