Planning For Success

Posted on 01 Nov, 2021
By IPOS International

Your intellectual property (IP) strategy should be an integral part of your business plan—making sure that you use your IP and all your other intangible assets fully and cost-effectively, in order to achieve your company’s objectives.

This level of integration is very important. For example, if your patent applications are purely technical exercises and not written with your business plan in mind, then their claim structure may well be inadequate to support your planned exploitation of the technology. Similarly, your business strategy should determine which activities you need to safeguard using trade mark protection, and where.

Recognising the role and importance of IP to your company should also improve your overall business strategy, as it will highlight new opportunities for growth and development through innovation.

This guide will help you to identify the types of IP that are critical to your business, and whether you need to build, buy or partner to access the key assets you need and create lasting competitive advantage for your products and services. It is designed to be read in conjunction with other guides in this series—particularly the ones covering audits (how to identify your strategic assets), IP intelligence gathering and international expansion.

Developing an IP strategy is a team exercise involving collaboration between all those in your company who have responsibility for sales, finance, compliance and research & development. It should also be a ‘living’ document that is regularly updated and shared with employees.

Lastly, the strategy itself will be an important asset. A recent report by a well-known global legal services organisation identified that less than half of the major European businesses surveyed had a documented IP strategy for their business. Even more surprising, only 29% had a strategy document that had been formally signed off by the board. However, the same survey found that businesses with a documented strategy rated themselves as more successful than those without.