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IP a complex endeavor

A good mindset for IP 1

I would like to start the blog with a series called "A good mindset for IP" While this may seem unusual, I believe it's crucial to approach intellectual property (IP) with the right mindset. Therefore, I thought it would be beneficial to begin with a broader perspective, rather than diving into the intricate details right away. Additionally, I haven't come across any other sources addressing this subject. If you know of any articles, blog posts, or similar resources, please feel free to share them with me. I would love to read them.

In this series, I will also provide some tips and suggestions on how to address the issues discussed. I want to give you a fair warning that most of these tips may sound simple and obvious. However, the challenge often lies in implementing them within a corporate structure and, more importantly, maintaining them over longer periods since IP projects are usually multiyear endeavors.

Complexity of intellectual property rights

For the first blog post in this series, I want to discuss the problems that arise due to the complexity of IP rights. I have observed many instances where IP projects or specific IP filings become lost in the process. What does this mean? Simply put, we aim to obtain IP rights based on our innovative ideas that precisely align with specific business objectives. However, during the complex and lengthy process of obtaining these IP rights, the connection to the business objectives, or even worse, to the underlying innovation itself, can be lost.

Let's examine this in more detail using a patent as the desired IP right. Ideas and, consequently, IP are generated on a daily basis in most companies. However, not every idea is worth pursuing as a patent application. Usually, the most promising ideas are selected, and applications are filed. These applications need to be drafted and defended during examination in front of various national patent offices. It generally takes several years for a patent to be granted. It is during this complex and lengthy process of application drafting and examination where things can go wrong, resulting in mediocre patents. Common mistakes often stem from inadequate preparation of the invention, inefficient communication, and slight changes in business objectives.

In my experience, these issues are not due to the incompetence of the individuals involved in the process, such as attorneys, researchers, and managers. Instead, I believe they are primarily caused by structural and organizational factors.

Effective structure for intellectual property

To structure your IP work effectively, it is essential to establish specific goals for each IP project related to a particular technology or product. These goals should explicitly connect the anticipated claims (in the case of patent applications) to specific business objectives. It is also important to consider how these objectives might evolve and incorporate them into the IP project. Write down these goals, which can be easily done using a simple spreadsheet. The earlier you establish these goals in the process, the better.

A well-organized IP project includes regular checks throughout the process. This is crucial both before filing the application and during the examination proceedings. Regularly review your initial goals and compare them to the current status. If you find that you are deviating from your goals or if different circumstances arise, be ready to adapt and make necessary changes. Avoid getting lost in the process and simply following the examination without considering your objectives. Always keep your goals in sight and react accordingly.

What are your thoughts? Have you ever experienced feeling lost during the process of obtaining an IP right, such as a patent? Or were you dissatisfied with the final outcome, such as the scope of the patent claims?