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IP the lone wolf

A good mindset for IP 2

In today's blog post, I would like to discuss the common tendency to treat intellectual property (IP) as an isolated subject, separate from other corporate projects. This approach often leads to problems and missed opportunities. It perfectly aligns with the theme of my recent series, "A good mindset for IP."

Isolation of intellectual property

I have observed numerous instances where IP projects are treated as special or additional tasks, rather than integral components of research and development initiatives. In some cases, IP is even considered a "nice to have" rather than an essential aspect. This approach gives rise to a multitude of issues.

The most obvious problem is the time pressure that arises when IP is neglected until later stages. By the time the product is ready for launch, IP protection needs to be filed. However, due to the nature of most IP rights, this must be done before the product is released to the public. I believe it's unnecessary to elaborate further on the consequences of rushing a task that requires careful attention. This becomes even more critical when dealing with complex matters like patent applications or utility models.

Another challenge stems from the lack of involvement of IP specialists. Whether you work with external attorneys or in-house counsels, treating IP as an isolated subject disrupts the flow of information, leading to subpar outcomes. One factor is the difficulty in determining what information is necessary to create the best work product. A less obvious issue is the human factor. When individuals are not fully engaged in a project or team, their level of commitment and their goals and objectives are likely to differ compared to other participants.

Intellectual property culture

Lastly, there is a cultural problem associated with addressing IP as an isolated subject within an organization. This approach results in two outcomes. Firstly, employees will not prioritize IP, leading to missed deadlines and lost knowledge and information. Secondly, the organization fails to foster a genuine understanding of IP among its employees. Most individuals will feel disconnected from the subject and perceive it with fear, rather than associating it with creativity and enjoyment.

To cultivate a more inclusive approach to IP work, it is crucial to involve a diverse group of individuals. This group could include professionals from marketing, business development, research and development, management, sales, and of course, IP specialists. It doesn't have to involve extensive workshops or IP training sessions. Often, it is most effective to integrate IP considerations as part of ongoing projects. Regular meetings with a diverse team can be held to identify the IP that emerges from the project and determine the IP needed to achieve the overall business objectives. Tasks can then be adjusted and aligned to create valuable IP alongside the project's progress.

What are your thoughts on this matter? Do you believe that your IP filings could benefit from the knowledge of the entire organization? Have you encountered difficulties in making IP approachable and enjoyable for your team?