Top 5 Intellectual Property Challenges Businesses Face


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The success of a business in the modern world depends in large part on a revolutionary innovation that puts the brakes on growing competition. Having a strong intellectual property (IP) portfolio and strategy helps improve your market share and brand value in the market. However, using intellectual property to support a company’s current and future market position can often be a challenge.

Here are the top five intellectual property challenges that large companies face and ways to solve them.

Create a valuable IP

Not all IPs generate value; studies have shown that almost 80% of patents remain unused.

A valuable intellectual property portfolio secures the existing product lines of its organization and aims to gain a strategic advantage over other market players. For this, an enthusiastic and innovative R&D team must be properly fueled with information about the IP landscape and white space in their industry. In addition, an innovation management process is needed to provide feedback to researchers on the feasibility and prospective value of their ideas.

Related: Using Someone Else’s Intellectual Property Comes at a Price

IP portfolio management

Managing the IP portfolio is not just limited to paying maintenance fees for IP assets over respective durations, but also involves efficient use of the IP portfolio to achieve broader business goals.

An intellectual property portfolio should be visualized and organized in a way that helps make the right decisions in a timely manner. The right intellectual property management strategy can help companies identify the following:

  • Patents likely to protect their current and future product offerings.
  • Patents that can help keep current and future competition at bay.
  • Patents that can be used in licensing programs to generate revenue.
  • Patents that have become obsolete and do not need to be renewed to save on maintenance costs.

An appropriate intellectual property management plan such as the F3 analysis can help meet the above three objectives. Such an analysis makes it possible to identify fundamental, future and marginal patents. Future patents may not have current demand, but may be useful in the future. For example, open or pending patent applications may be strategically prosecuted to make them a foundational patent in the future. Marginal patents are of no strategic importance and can be licensed, abandoned or pruned. Therefore, such analysis not only helps companies to protect their products in the markets from imitators, but can also protect the organization in case of litigation or threat of competition.

Fight the competition

Competitors are constantly looking for developments in intellectual property within their field. This even manifests itself in the duplication of innovative technologies. For this reason, many market leaders often engage in legal battles. While winning such court battles can provide a competitive advantage, losing ends up spoiling the brand image and goodwill of customers. In addition, the emergence of new market entrants also affects the market share of existing innovators.

Having a strong patent portfolio helps not only to gain a competitive advantage by protecting service and product offerings, but also in the event of patent infringement lawsuits. With a strong patent portfolio, companies can consider cross-licensing to positively end intellectual property disputes with their competitors.

Treatment of intellectual property disputes

Intellectual property lawsuits arising from competition and non-practicing entities (NPEs) can result in major financial losses for a business in addition to jeopardizing the goodwill of its customers and the reputation of its brand.

Intellectual property lawsuits can be avoided with the help of Freedom to Operate Assessments (FTOs). FTO helps analyze patents that may pose a threat to product launches. Making adjustments in products to overcome previous infringement or invalidity analysis and license negotiations for such threatening patents can save a lot of cost and reputation for any organization. In addition, to avoid disputes in the supply chain, contracts with suppliers must include appropriate intellectual property indemnification clauses.

Related: How & Why Startups Should Protect Their Intellectual Property At All Costs

Profitability of IP services

It is often difficult to justify the role and valuable contributions of IP departments. Even though the intangible assets are known to contribute more Towards the growth of an organization, many companies do not realize it and target these assets during budget cuts.

Nationwide lockdowns induced by recent global health crises have shut down businesses and rendered tangible assets inefficient. However, intangible assets such as intellectual property have helped many companies stay afloat during these difficult times. Intellectual property departments ensured that licensing programs continued to generate revenue when major products or service offerings were largely inactive. In addition, the contribution of intellectual property assets to business units should be actively considered by intellectual property departments, and abandoning unprofitable intellectual property can be an immediate cost reduction measure. Selling or identifying intellectual property assets with potential for profit can also help intellectual property services generate tangible value for the organization.

All of these measures, aligned with the organization’s vision and mission, can help businesses effectively address challenges and use intellectual property for the overall growth of their business.

Related: How To: Protect Your Intellectual Property As a Small Business

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