A Smart Patent Portfolio is a carefully developed strategy to align patent assets with business needs. It is essential for high-tech companies to develop and maintain a good patent portfolio in order to ensure the long-term value of their innovations.
To build a great patent portfolio, companies need to implement the following strategies. This can help them save time, money, and effort as well as make their patents relevant to their current and future business goals.
One of the best ways to build a great patent portfolio is to apply the innovation flywheel approach. The flywheel method has been praised by management professors because it helps organizations succeed at consistently improving their performance. This concept, which was first introduced by Jim Collins in his book Good to Great, is a simple and effective way to build momentum without relying on dramatic changes or risky strategies. It’s a powerful business strategy that helps companies create momentum, build customer loyalty and deliver consistent value over time.
Many of the world’s most successful companies have adopted this approach to stay ahead of their competition and build long-term, mutually beneficial relationships with their customers. The concept of the flywheel involves making small incremental improvements in all areas of your business, which create an ever-increasing positive cycle of growth.
To get started with the flywheel, leaders must first set an immediate objective that has obvious potential to unlock value. This could involve tackling customer friction, operational inefficiency, or a new market opportunity for expansion.
Once this goal has been established, they should commission a flywheel team. The flywheel team will then be empowered to follow the playbook principles and challenge themselves to invent a new solution to solve that problem.
In this way, they’ll be able to build a solution that is useful and fast–something that they can immediately test with real-world users for feedback. This is because the digital native mentality makes it easy for them to learn directly from the end user.
The flywheel team will then be able to make adjustments to the solution based on this feedback. As a result, the solution will be more effective and efficient than the original idea.
This process will help the flywheel team find and fix issues, and then it will continue to improve the solution over time until they can launch it as a product. This will allow them to build a strong foundation that allows them to continually innovate and expand their product line.
Flywheeling the Inventive Process at a Company
Jim Collins’ Good to Great Flywheel is a powerful framework for building a successful organization, but it can also be applied to building a strong patent portfolio. Here is how it could be applied:
- Disciplined people: The first step in building a strong patent portfolio is to ensure that you have the right people in place. This means hiring and training patent professionals who are skilled in identifying and protecting valuable intellectual property.
- Disciplined thought: The next step is to establish a clear strategy for building your patent portfolio. This should involve identifying the key areas of innovation and technology that are important to your business, and developing a plan for identifying and protecting patents in those areas.
- Disciplined action: Once you have a clear strategy in place, the next step is to take disciplined action to build your patent portfolio. This may involve investing in research and development, working with outside inventors or technology partners, and filing patent applications on a regular basis.
- Build momentum: As your patent portfolio begins to grow, it is important to build momentum by continuing to invest in research and development and actively seeking out new opportunities for innovation and patent protection.
- Keep improving: Over time, it is important to continue to refine and improve your patent strategy to ensure that it remains aligned with your business goals and objectives. This may involve reevaluating your focus areas, investing in new technologies, or adjusting your patent filing strategy to better reflect changes in the market.
- Build a culture of innovation: Finally, to sustain long-term success, it is important to build a culture of innovation within your organization. This means fostering a mindset of creativity and curiosity, encouraging collaboration and knowledge-sharing, and investing in the professional development of your patent professionals.
By applying Jim Collins’ Good to Great Flywheel to building a patent portfolio, you can create a disciplined, focused approach to innovation and intellectual property protection that will help to drive long-term success for your organization.
Here is a 4-step process for inventors to submit their ideas easily and often, followed by a patent decision-making process based on business technology product strategies, and finally a process for communicating successful patent filings to recognize inventors and promote awareness of innovation throughout the company:
Step 0: Provide Software To Aid Inventors to Capture Innovations Easier
Innovation tools like PowerPatent can be an important component of an easy invention disclosure process. PowerPatent is designed to help inventors capture their ideas and document them in a clear and concise manner. It provides templates and guidance for creating effective invention disclosures and can help inventors identify the key elements of their inventions.
PowerPatent can also help inventors determine whether their ideas are new and non-obvious, which are key criteria for patentability. By providing inventors with tools and guidance for documenting their ideas, PowerPatent can help to streamline the invention disclosure process and make it easier for inventors to submit their ideas for consideration.
Overall, providing inventors with a software tool like PowerPatent can be a valuable step in the process of building a strong patent portfolio. It can help inventors to capture their ideas more easily and effectively, while also improving the overall quality of the invention disclosures submitted. This, in turn, can help to increase the likelihood of successful patent filings and promote a culture of innovation within the organization.
Step 1: Use Software to Help Inventors Simplify Innovation Disclosures
- Innovation tools like PowerPatent can be an important component of an easy invention disclosure process. PowerPatent is designed to help inventors capture their ideas and document them in a clear and concise manner. It provides templates and guidance for creating effective invention disclosures and can help inventors identify the key elements of their inventions.
- PowerPatent can also help inventors determine whether their ideas are new and non-obvious, which are key criteria for patentability. By providing inventors with tools and guidance for documenting their ideas, PowerPatent can help to streamline the invention disclosure process and make it easier for inventors to submit their ideas for consideration.
- Overall, providing inventors with a software tool like PowerPatent can be a valuable step in the process of building a strong patent portfolio. It can help inventors to capture their ideas more easily and effectively, while also improving the overall quality of the invention disclosures submitted. This, in turn, can help to increase the likelihood of successful patent filings and promote a culture of innovation within the organization.
Step 2: Easy Invention Disclosure Process
- Provide a centralized portal for inventors to submit their ideas easily and securely.
- Provide clear instructions and guidelines on how to submit invention disclosures, including the necessary documentation and information required.
- Offer training or support to help inventors identify and capture their ideas effectively.
- Establish a system for tracking the progress of invention disclosures and providing timely feedback to inventors.
Step 3: Transparent Patent Decision-Making Process
- Establish a clear set of criteria and guidelines for evaluating invention disclosures, taking into account the company’s business and technology strategies.
- Assign a team or committee responsible for reviewing and making decisions on patent filings, with clearly defined roles and responsibilities.
- Provide inventors with regular updates on the status of their invention disclosures and patent filings.
- Establish a timeline for decision-making and communicate it clearly to inventors and stakeholders.
Step 4: Communicate Successful Patent Filings
- Celebrate and recognize successful patent filings, both internally and externally.
- Provide feedback to inventors on why their ideas were successful and what made them stand out.
- Share information about successful patent filings and inventors’ contributions through internal communication channels, such as newsletters or company-wide meetings.
- Provide incentives or rewards for inventors who contribute to successful patent filings, such as financial compensation or public recognition.
- Show employees and Officers (CXO) success, either in licensing revenues, or product market exclusivity.
By following this process, companies can create a culture of innovation that encourages inventors to submit their ideas regularly and provides them with clear guidance on how to do so. The patent decision-making process ensures that ideas are evaluated based on their strategic value, while the communication process recognizes and rewards inventors for their contributions and promotes awareness of innovation throughout the organization.
Invention disclosure process
Submitting invention disclosures is one of the most efficient ways to ensure your intellectual property (IP) gets evaluated for patentability and commercialization potential. It can also save your company time and protect your professional interests.
Invention disclosures are the first recorded documentation of your invention and establish key dates around the conception of the invention, its scope, and inventorship. These are the critical factors that determine whether you have patent rights and how those rights will be protected in the future.
An invention disclosure form is usually required for all new inventions or inventions that have been developed under a grant, research agreement, or collaborative project between two or more parties. This is to ensure that all individuals who contributed to the development of an invention are properly identified and their ownership rights are established.
This form is a good idea for all inventions regardless of their significance, but it is especially important to disclose if you have been funded by the federal government under Bayh-Dole or another program that requires you to publicly disclose any discoveries made under that funding. If the federal government discovers that you have not complied with this obligation, they may assert ownership of your invention and eliminate any patent rights you have or future revenues from that invention.
It is important to submit your invention disclosures early and often. The more often your ideas are submitted, the more likely it is that your invention will be considered for patent protection and that you can get the most out of the process.
The invention disclosure form should be filled out carefully so that the information it contains is accurate and complete. It should include a description of the invention and how it works, along with details about how it is different from previous inventions in the field. This will help BIBD and other IP experts understand the invention and how it works, which are critical for the patent application process.
The invention disclosure form should be signed by at least one person who is not an inventor or a researcher and who has no relationship to the creation of the invention. Typically, this person is a senior staff member in the university or the department that developed the invention. This witness should be chosen because they are knowledgeable about the invention and its significance.
Patent decision-making process
Building a great patent portfolio is a complex process that requires extensive research and planning. This includes defining corporate patent goals and strategic priorities, establishing an inventory of existing inventions and related materials, implementing a procurement and management process, and developing a licensing strategy that maximizes the business value of patented assets.
The first step is to identify the key valuable patents in your portfolio. These are the inventions that are critical to your core business and are used by products that sell well in large markets. In other words, these are Feature-Essential Patents (FEPs).
Truly valuable patents can be difficult to find, but automated tools can help identify those that will likely prove most useful in the future. For example, an artificial intelligence (AI) engine that is trained on a particular industry can score patents against each other and your company’s technology to provide a quantitative approach to prioritization.
These metrics can be helpful for communicating the strength of your patent portfolio to investors and stakeholders. For example, many companies use a standard quality KPI in their annual shareholder reports and other investor communication to illustrate the strength of their patent portfolios.
Another way to identify the key valuable patents in your patent portfolio is to set guard rails based on filing count, technology area, and/or business function. In addition to setting these parameters, it’s also important to understand the specific needs of your business.
For example, does your product need to be a solution for several different problems or does it require a unique combination of technologies? Filing multiple patents around a particular solution is a good idea to protect your business against competitive alternatives.
It’s also important to determine whether you can easily verify that your patent is being used by competitors. For example, would it be possible to simply read a competitor’s literature or watch their solution in operation? Or would it be more complicated to examine source code or reverse engineer a competitive solution?
If you’re unsure about how to determine the value of your patents, it may be wise to sell a portion of your patent portfolio or obtain an early license to a portion of your patents. This can help reduce your maintenance costs in non-core areas and create a more externally valuable asset.
Communicating successful patent filings
A great patent portfolio can be one of the most important assets a company can have, and it is essential to build it. A patent is a legal document that protects inventions and can help a business generate revenue by licensing it to other companies.
As such, it is crucial to ensure that a patent application is thorough and concise. If a patent is not fully complete and clearly explains the invention, it will be difficult to defend against infringement claims in court.
When you’re drafting the patent, make sure that all of the details about your invention are provided to the attorney, including design drawings, flowcharts, algorithms, or chemical formulae. This will allow your attorney to create the best possible draft of your application and ensure that it accurately reflects your invention.
Likewise, you should include time-stamped copies of all documents and images that support your patent. This will help you prove that your invention is unique and worth protection in the event of a patent challenge later on.
A strong patent program can also recognize inventors and promote awareness of innovation throughout the company. These recognitions can be in the form of public acknowledgments or competitive prizes that reward engineers and teams for creating innovative new products, processes, technologies, or services.
While it’s important to get these incentives in place, companies should also make it a point to educate their employees on the value of IP. Employees who are not aware of patents and other types of IP can be hesitant to submit their inventions for protection.
In-house patent attorneys often present internal reports and communications about filed and granted patents to senior executives and technology and marketing leaders throughout the company. They also conduct training that uses previously filed and granted patents as examples of subject matter eligible for protection.
These awareness activities motivate more inventors to submit their ideas for patent protection. This is because a well-executed patent program is designed to increase inventor engagement and drive a high-performance innovation culture that systematically generates market-leading technology.