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How to Improve Your Innovation ROI with Early Stage Patent Expertise

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DESCRIPTION

In this in-depth article Jackie Hutter, top IP Strategist and counselor to innovation driven organizations, writes about how to improve the ROI of innovation outcomes by including patent expertise in the front end of the innovation process. The article also includes managerial implications and guidelines for including patent experts in the front end of the innovation process.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Jackie Hutter, MS, JD is one of the pioneering ranks of Intellectual Property (IP) Strategists. She is Chief IP Strategist of The Hutter Group LLC, a consultancy providing IP-related business and investment counseling to innovation-driven organizations of all sizes that seek to maximize their greatest asset--intangible assets. She has over 15 years experience counseling all types and sizes of organizations in all facets of IP creation, protection and enforcement. Jackie was named one of the 250 top IP Strategists in the world by Intellectual Asset Management magazine for 2009 and 2010. Jackie was named a SuperLawyer® in IP in Georgia in 2004, and she is a frequent speaker on IP strategy. Jackie was previously Senior Counsel at a multi-national corporation and a partner at a well-known Atlanta, GA law firm.

Published in: Business
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How to Improve Your Innovation ROI with Early Stage Patent Expertise

  1. 1. The number one online magazine for innovation management practioners ©Ymer&Partners AB All rights reserved. www.innovationmanagement.se ISBN: 978-91-86829-05-6 Feature Article # 3-2010 Improving Innovation ROI with Early Stage Patent Expertise Jackie Hutter, MS, JD Chief IP Strategist of The Hutter Group LLC by
  2. 2. Improving Innovation ROI with Early Stage Patent Expertise 4 Feature article #3-2010 brought to you by InnovationManagement, ©Ymer&Partners AB All rights reserved. To order please visit www.imstore.se. VALUE PROPOSITION By including patents as a component of information gathering at the earliest stages, a company can better ensure that a new product or technology will provide the durable competitive advantage needed to validate innovation investment. That is, for one or more innovation pathways, patent data can provide insights into whether the company is likely to obtain patent rights of a broad enough scope to prevent competitors from legally playing in the same market space. Incorporation of patent information at the early stages also provides a signal of whether one or more innovation pathways are likely to lead to costs and business uncertainties resulting from patent litigation, both of which will make it difficult or impossible to fully capitalize on innovation investment. Put simply, incorporation of patent insights into go-forward financial models can improve the probability that a company will achieve the expected ROI on its innovation. PATENTS AS SOURCES OF INNOVATION DATA A primary way to introduce patents into the front end of innovation processes is to utilize patent information, also called “patent landscaping” or “patent analytics,” as a source of data used in decision-making. As shown in Figure 1, the number of U.S. patent filings has increased dramatically in recent years and, as a result, a wealth of competitive FIGURE 1: U.S. patent filings from 1965-2008. Source: U.S. Patent Office. This document is a partial preview. Full document download can be found on Flevy: http://flevy.com/browse/document/how-to-improve-your-innovation-roi-with-early-stage-patent-expertise-1208
  3. 3. Improving Innovation ROI with Early Stage Patent Expertise 7Feature article #3-2010 brought to you by InnovationManagement, ©Ymer&Partners AB All rights reserved. To order please visit www.imstore.se. Guidelines for Including Patent Experts in Front End of Innovation Processes Business leaders must make ultimate call regarding innovation pathways Align patent expert incentives with innovation, not just risk mitigation and cost control Realize that not all lawyers will operate well in the innovation space Consider introducing patent experts into formal business reporting structure Recognize that costs may initially increase when addressing patent matters early in innovation process FIGURE 3: Steps for successfully including patents in corporate innovation processes. With regard to successfully integrating corporate patent experts into the innovation realm, Figure 3 provides further guidance to the reader. Specifically, it is critical to recognize that even though the patent expert functions as a member of the corporate innovation team, the business team should nonetheless retain decision rights as to whether to proceed in a particular innovation pathway. If decisions do not reside with the business team, it is likely that the inherently conservative nature of many patent counsel could reduce the overall effectiveness of the innovation processes. The corporate patent expert should also be rewarded for providing advice that may amount to no more than an “educated guess,” as opposed to the “dotting the I’s and crossing the t’s” type of advice that most legally trained people are more comfortable in providing. Further, those who make the organizational management calls should recognize that not all patent experts will function comfortably and effectively in the ambiguity of innovation processes, and that the company may need to go outside to find the appropriate patent expert to “play well” with their innovation team. Some companies have seen success when they introduce their corporate patent counsel into the formal reporting structure of the business, as opposed to having lawyers reporting into—and being incentivized by—corporate legal management. Lastly, the ambiguity of early stage innovation processes typically gives rise to less discrete questions and, as such, more complex analysis which, in turn, will likely result in higher costs than the company is used to paying for patent-related advice. Corporate decision-makers must therefore be willing to absorb this cost increase in exchange for the opportunity to generate markedly improved ROI on their innovation investment. This document is a partial preview. Full document download can be found on Flevy: http://flevy.com/browse/document/how-to-improve-your-innovation-roi-with-early-stage-patent-expertise-1208
  4. 4. To order please visit www.InnoavationManagement.se For general enquiries, please send us an e-mail: info@innovationmanagement.se The number one online magazine for innovation management practioners This document is a partial preview. Full document download can be found on Flevy: http://flevy.com/browse/document/how-to-improve-your-innovation-roi-with-early-stage-patent-expertise-1208
  5. 5. 1 Flevy (www.flevy.com) is the marketplace for premium documents. These documents can range from Business Frameworks to Financial Models to PowerPoint Templates. Flevy was founded under the principle that companies waste a lot of time and money recreating the same foundational business documents. Our vision is for Flevy to become a comprehensive knowledge base of business documents. All organizations, from startups to large enterprises, can use Flevy— whether it's to jumpstart projects, to find reference or comparison materials, or just to learn. Contact Us Please contact us with any questions you may have about our company. • General Inquiries support@flevy.com • Media/PR press@flevy.com • Billing billing@flevy.com

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