Managing Intellectual Property is something innovative businesses need to do as part of their everyday processes. Not managing intellectual property can cause headaches and loss in business value – something no business can afford.
Does your Intellectual Property (IP) management system have a scattered approach with patents and potential assets with a commercial value hiding away like lost bones? Signs that your IP system has not kept up with your needs include:
- It’s disjointed;
- It’s slow to respond to changes;
- Important links to background information are not easily seen.
If your business is expanding, that’s great news, but if your current IP system is a collection of notes in your paper files or an excel spreadsheet, you might be wondering how it will handle even more content and complex demands on the information.
As your organisation’s staff numbers increase, it’s more crucial than ever to have a secure and reliable IP system whose management can be shared with relevant staff members. A system with allocated security access according to your level of authorisation would be ideal.
As a business grows or projects progress, reporting needs of the intellectual property will escalate with board reports, funding bodies, Government departments and researchers all making various requests. Industry and government investment requirements are increasing around the tracking of outputs, especially those that can be commercialised. When commercialisation of a project is realised, common questions include:
- “Who contributed what?” and
- “Who owns what?”
Having to go back many years and through several projects to get answers is time consuming and can reduce confidence in the accuracy of your data.
Does your current IP system cope well with these extra demands or are you frustrated at the interruptions on your workflow, with time needed to work around the limitations of your IP management system?
When data is buried away, critical deadlines or renewal dates can be easily overlooked. Automated reminders and emailed notifications ensure that important dates are not missed and relevant staff are notified to follow up on a deadline. This ‘set and forget’ feature of a dedicated IP management system ensures that the right people get notified of the right tasks at the right time. The ability to generate tasks and reports using the latest data ensures that managers make informed intelligent decisions using the most recent information.
Managing Intellectual Property in Research Organisations
Research depends on past endeavours, both from team members (the source of Background IP – BIP) and from outside parties (the source of Third Party IP – TPIP). It is usual for BIP and TPIP to have restrictions on use, especially when it comes to commercialising research outcomes. TPIP may have associated royalties or BIP may be patented. Recognising if a project has BIP and/or TPIP, and having a clear understanding of any restrictions associated with the BIP or TPIP are both necessary to successfully develop project innovations. A robust and reliable IP system will be able to store and provide when needed, all IP details associated with a project, including that of BIP and TPIP.
Research & development teams are often frustrated by researchers or IP data providers not recognising or identifying IP associated with their project and not understanding the importance of supplying all the data requested of them. The process of extracting information can be annoying and slow, having to repeatedly explain that “Yes, your project does contain IP.”
If researchers, or data providers are unsure of data expectations, having an online interactive data portal can make the disclosure of complete information a quick and easier process, capable of accurately tracking changes and updates. A portal assists with the listing of associated BIP and TPIP together with anticipated project IP including details of contributions and restrictions of use in a clear and consistent manner with prompts for required information.
Managing Intellectual Property with software
Implementing a dedicated software IP management system is one solution to taming your out-of-control IP records. A system that can store all the data at your fingertips, holding project information such as financials and agreements together with associated up-to-date intellectual property data. This form of IP management ensures that valuable IP is not lost and commercialisation opportunities are not held up because records are disjointed or out of date. Having a system that easily reflects complex relationships across multiple data records in a consistent manner is becoming increasingly important today, as the focus and push to commercialise is growing.
An intelligent software IP management system will recognise and minimise duplication and redundancy throughout your database. For example in the contacts section where multiple records could be held for the same person, with each record varying slightly, for example ‘Uni’ versus ‘The Uni’, an evolved software system will quickly tidy up duplicated records.
A further benefit that is realised, as an IP management system grows, is that with an IP software solution, further links can easily be made to earlier related projects. The tracking of record changes as your IP is advanced through stages of commercialisation is now an automatic process with date verification.
Managing Intellectual Property with Inteum
Inteum is one example of an IP management software system that stores, analyses and reports on the technology data securely housed within an IP database. It is highly customisable and can include researcher portals for the secure provision of data. It also has the ability to restrict access to run certain reports or limited to the records of a particular company section. In technology management circles, Inteum is well recognised as an industry leader with a support team focused on customer feedback to steer continual improvement of the system.
With a dedicated IP software system, the frustrations with the limitations of your Intellectual Property management will be a thing of the past. Time will be saved when tracking your commercial assets and confidence in your data quality will be renewed. TechMAC offers a managed Inteum Package to help you with managing your intellectual property.