This time of year it seems like every corporate department, from finance and HR to marketing, has a list of New Year’s resolutions. But oddly, we never hear of such resolutions concerning the intellectual property function of a business. And I say “oddly” because, according to experts, that’s where more than 80% of a company’s market value resides nowadays.
To correct this glaring oversight, here is my list of the eight most important IP resolutions that your business should embrace in the New Year.
1. Patent only your most valuable innovations.
IP protection costs a lot of money, yet too many firms conduct their patenting efforts like an assembly line, wasting precious time and resources filing patent applications on everything that comes out of R&D. Not only is that enormously wasteful today, it will mean hefty maintenance fees down the road. So let your competitors squander their resources trying to patent everything — after all, “He who defends everything defends nothing.”
Instead, focus your patenting only on the most critical high-value innovations that give your business an edge today — and on those that will determine your success tomorrow.
2. Don’t let outside counsel dictate your patent strategy.
Too many companies let their outside patent lawyers dictate their overall IP strategy by default. True, they’re the patent drafting experts, so letting outside counsel implement the patent drafting component of your IP strategy is fine.
But letting them actually determine the strategy itself can result in the filing of lots of cookie-cutter patent applications that are either tangential to your business or full of obfuscated claim language. Even if those patents are later granted, they are unlikely to survive a court challenge or post-grant review. Either way, they’re useless to your business.