This article featured in PDMA Visions Magazine provides a process for assessing the value of these assets and unlocking their value.
A primary reason that many companies are failing to leverage their IP is the lack of standard tools and methods for value extraction. Product development is well understood and has been studied and improved for decades. IP strategy, on the other hand, has been left to corporate legal groups, whose focus is generally on protecting the corporation’s intellectual assets, not on extracting value or generating revenue from them.
Another reason that many companies have a difficult time leveraging their IP is that many business people simply do not know what they own. Mergers and acquisitions increase the challenge of assessing portfolios. The IP portfolio may contain hundreds or even thousands of patents that may be dispersed across multiple divisions. Without an organized effort to catalog and categorize the portfolio, it is very difficult to assess its intrinsic and extrinsic value.
Finally, it would be unusual for a company to have knowledge of unmet customer needs across multiple industries. Identifying potential alternative commercial applications for an invention requires a broad understanding of many markets. Often, the greatest opportunities for reapplication are far removed from the inventor’s core business. How can companies regain control of their IP portfolios and extract the value that resides in those dust-covered documents?