IP Strategy – Part III – Managing

by Thomas Frasher on October 23, 2009

IP Strategy Part IIIn my previous article I wrote that you need to actively manage your IP Strategy. This article is about how to build that practice.

OK, let’s say that you have created an IP Strategy document and you know what direction your company is going with the development of the company intellectual property. You have a clear concise roadmap that defines the directions and more importantly what areas you are going to stay away from.

Feels pretty good doesn’t it?

And then….the world changes.

Some markets become obsolete, a new product comes out that makes the original problem evaporate, a new service is available that prevents the cause for your product from existing, your market is gone. There is an old term for this: “Sitting On Your Laurels” and it doesn’t work anymore, there is ample evidence that it never worked. The world always changes, as small business owners we all know that and experience it every day. Our marketplace may be less conscious of the facticity of change (note to the unions, and people that want things to return to the same way they were).

How do you manage your IP in the light of these changes?

1. You must be paying attention to you market as if you were your own customer. What would make my need for this product go away? What would make this product better? What do I find annoying about this product or service? Is it hard to use? All of these are reason’s to abandon your product.

2. Are you in a market that is known for a lot of change? (Real Estate, Technology, Investments, etc.) If your business in in a volatile market with lots of change you have additional work to maintain your position in the market place, and even more work to get ahead in that market place. The good news? These markets have a great deal of energy and can support many new products, services and changes that other more established and stolid markets cannot.

3. Is your market saturated with competition? Additionally what is the complexion of that competition, are they bigger, smaller, better funded? Bigger doesn’t always mean better, large companies have more resources, but they are, in general, slower to recognize new opportunities and slower to exploit or even protect those opportunities. Smaller companies are, in general, much more nimble and innovative, however they can get starved for resources and need to scale back their innovation (remember protecting you IP is costly)

All of the above points need to be taken into account when working on your strategy. As a rule of thumb: when you first start working with your IP Strategy you need to take a look once a week, to make sure you are on course.

As you gain familiarity with your market, your customers, their customers and your products and services you will be able to stretch this time out. In the current climate of chaos and rapid change, you need to re-visit your strategy at least once a month. And remember: this is your document, you can change it at will. Indeed, if something is not working, rather than being constrained by it, use it as a tool to make purposeful changes to get back on track.

In my last article I said to create consequences and rewards for working on the IP Strategy. The consequences will manifest themselves for you if you don’t create them, so you must know what they are. The very survival of your company is in the balance.

The great benefit of creating your strategy is that you will have a clear path, that goes where YOU want it to go, and you can change it, powerfully, purposefully and with predictable results.

Get Started!!

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