For many years, vendors of office automation systems expended considerable effort trying to convince corporate and law firm patent attorneys to adopt paperless file management systems by touting the time and money savings associated with electronic files over the traditional patent file system. However, relatively few patent attorneys have done so, instead, remaining loyal to the traditional three-sided manila patent file folder. Until recently I was one of those patent attorneys. Now that I have discovered the vast efficiencies and improvements possible with these electronic systems, the question is why I remained true to this clearly outdated system of maintaining client patent prosecution records. Given the remarkable efficiency and knowledge management improvements possible with electronic patent file management systems, there can be no viable excuse for either corporate or law firm patent attorneys not to adopt such systems.In retrospect, I think I found that the heft and history represented by the
This week, I am using the IP Maximizer Blog to let readers know about an exciting upcoming IP Strategy event. My fellow IP Strategist, Jordan Hatcher, and his team at ipVA and colleagues at ExponentIP are working with Managing IP to provide a free webinar on IP Strategy in Europe on February 26, 2009 at 9 am EST. (I understand it is also going to be recorded.) I am very excited about this program because, as someone who advises on worldwide IP strategy, I am sure the insights provided in this webinar will elevate my knowledge and allow me to provide enhanced advice to my clients regarding IP protection in Europe.
Some might wonder why I am so looking forward to learning more about strategic IP outside of the US, so I will give some background.
By counting a number of many multi-national
As legal service fees continue to rise five percent or more year after year, corporate IP managers, such as Chief IP Counsel and the like, continually face pressures from their management teams to reduce outside counsel legal expenses. The current economic downturn has also resulted in corporate legal budgets being slashed, thus increasing the pressure on corporate IP managers to reduce outside counsel costs, even while IP asset value is becoming more important to C-level management. As a result, the need for corporate IP managers to achieve outside counsel fee relief while at the same time maintaining IP legal service quality is more acute than ever today. Today, there are a number of commonly accepted methods to achieve outside IP counsel fee relief including fixed (or "capped") fee arrangements and a percentage reduction per total hours billed, as well as electronic billing systems set up to automatically audit law firm bills.
I often facetiously refer to myself as a "recovering patent attorney." This somewhat tongue-in-cheek phrase seems appropriate to my present professional state of mind because, after many years of drafting and prosecuting patents for clients of all sizes and degrees of sophistication, in the end, I became disillusioned with the way the patent business traditionally operates. Too often, I found that the patents I worked so hard (and was paid handsomely) to obtain failed to serve my client's business needs. In searching for the source of the disconnect between my efforts, the client's expenditures and the ultimate value of the patent to my client's business, I realized that those responsible for the client's business often did not participate adequately in the patenting process. Instead, at many organizations, inventors and patent attorneys served as the gatekeepers for most patent decisions. While the relevant client business unit typically held some say in patenting
As corporate revenues continue decreasing as a result of consumer and corporation belt-tightening, many businesses now seek to extract revenue from previously untapped areas. One such source experiencing increasing interest is patent monetization, whereby a business licenses or sells its unused or under-utilized patent assets to generate a new revenue stream. At the surface, patent monetization would effectively appear to be a "no brainer" for business. That is, if one owns an asset that holds little internal value, but to which a third party would ascribe considerable value, why wouldn't a company move forward with selling that asset? In truth, however, few organizations possess the knowledge base required to succesfully execute on a patent monetization plan. This failure results not because patent monetization requires a complex set of skills; rather, the difficulty typically lies with the organization's lack of familiarity with the process of patent monetization. A successful patent monetization process
I recently heard a group of tax experts spoke about issues related to intellectual property ("IP"), and since then I have been thinking about how my clients could benefit from better incorporating IP into their corporate tax planning and accounting processes. The topic is very complex and, as such, I will leave the details to the experts. (Feel free to contact me for recommendations in this regard.) I believe it is nonetheless valid to make the following statement: if your tax experts do not include IP issues in their tax planning and accounting processes, your company is likely leaving considerable money on the table. As these experts discussed IP-related tax issues, it became apparent to me how important IP asset management should be to corporate tax planning and accounting efforts. However, my experience demonstrates that few corporate managers are aware that such savings are possible. Even if they know about this
The recent hullabaloo regarding Sarah Palin's "gold plated" wardrobe from Saks and Neiman Marcus got me thinking about how many companies select patent law firms. This may seem like a non-sequitur, but bear with me. . . Those responsible for dressing Gov. Palin apparently believed that the large expenditures at Saks and Neiman Marcus automatically translated into value for the Republican ticket by allowing her to be viewed as more "Vice Presidential" than she would otherwise been considered. Notwithstanding the high cost of her new wardrobe, as reported in the New York Times, her overall "look" remains the same as when she campaigned for and served as Governor of Alaska: business-appropriate jackets, feminine skirts and high heels. The response to this wardrobe makeover by a major fashion commentator: "Honey, I could have dressed you for a lot less than that." From this comment, as well as the continuing backlash
This week, I am intrigued by what appears to be a recent convergence of reporting and blogging about the state of innovation in the US. There is an obvious concern by those who keep track of such matters that, in the current economic climate, government and business will "take a hatchet" to R & D and innovation budgets in an attempt to reduce overall costs. Such cutting is, of course, a rational short term solution to address today's problems. Government and corporate leaders taking the long view will nonetheless understand that, when it comes to R & D and innovation spending, it is much better to apply the proverbial "scapel" to one's budget. Moreover, as discussed by Tom Donahue (President and Chairman of the US Chamber of Commerce) recently on The Huffington Post (h/t Front End of Innovation), intellectual property protection is a critical component of successful
More than 70 % of corporate value today lies in the form of intangible assets, much of which are in the form of patents, copyrights and trademarks. Notwithstanding this fact, many otherwise sophisticated CEO's and corporate managers essentially leave a significant portion of firm value on the table by failing to develop and execute on a business strategy directed to capturing and maximizing this class of assets. Of course, few organizations would admit that management fails to fully realize the asset that forms the bulk of today's corporate value. Many managers also may not believe they have the requisite knowlede to determine whether their company's intellectual assets are being properly exploited. Fortunately, it can be fairly easy to discern whether a company's management expends the effort necessary to capture and maximize its intellectual assets. Put simply, if an organization's top business leadership does not possess an engaged knowledge of their company's
This New York Times article entitled "A New Battle is Beginning in Branding of the Web" demonstrates that companies such as Microsoft and Dell are adopting aggressive Intellectual Property (IP) strategies that include forms of legal protection others than patent rights. The basis of this approach might not be obvious to those who consider these companies "technology companies" at their respective cores. That is, the product lines of Microsoft and Dell (and their counterparts) might more logically be considered by some to be the subject matter for patents, as opposed to trademarks. Nonetheless, the article confirms that more and more companies are reaching outside of the traditional mode of technology patent protection to develop comprehensive IP strategies directed toward creating IP value in multiple dimensions. It is interesting to find out that Microsoft apparently learned the lesson of the need for an IP strategy by almost making a colossal