IP Portfolio Management
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First and foremost, IP rights serve to ring-fence an entity’s unique competing space, in order to create a barrier to entry for competitors.
IP rights are not only used defensively to keep competitors at bay, but they can also be used aggressively to expand the entity’s commercial activities through licensing opportunities, for example.
A comprehensive IP portfolio increases the value of an entity by raising the value of its balance sheet. In some industries, like technology, a company’s value is derived almost exclusively from its IP portfolio, which can therefore be leveraged to attract investors and potential partners.
IP portfolio management aims to ensure that the IP owner derives maximum value from the IP portfolio. Aligning an IP portfolio with the strategic objectives of the owner is a continuous task, requiring active management in much the same way that a company is managed.
Ideally IP portfolio management extends from idea creation to the maintenance and enforcement of eventual IP rights.
This includes identifying potential IP from as early as the R&D phase, analysing IP protection strategies, securing IP protection in markets that have commercial importance, analysing the IP landscape to identify opportunities and prevent infringement of third party rights, maintaining IP registrations, and enforcing IP rights against infringers.
IP portfolio management ensures that IP is identified and protected in line with the strategic objectives of the owner and that an active register is maintained to keep track of the IP portfolio. In this way, costs are managed to avoid expenditure falling outside of the owner’s commercial interests.