Beat Weibel: Siemens develops IP strategy for digital business model protection

Chief IP Counsel of Siemens Beat Weibel sees the necessity for new IP strategies within digitization. Together with Rudolf Freytag, Head of Licensing and CEO of Siemens Technology Accelerator GmbH, he published a paper Why Digitalization Needs Value-Driven Intellectual Property Strategies” in les Nouvelles, Journal of the licensing executives society international, 12/2019, Vol. LIV, pp. 268-273. Weibel and Freytag explain in this publication why a value orientated IP strategy is key for success within digital business eco-systems. The authors cite a Roland Berger Study on Business Ecosystems (01/2019) and the 360° IP Strategy book (2016, Vahlen, Wurzer/Grünewald/Berres) for “value driven” IP strategies which supports business strategy.

In this paper, the authors describe a dichotomy and explain the contrast between an invention-driven IP strategy which has the starting point at an inventor and his invention: “In a traditional, invention-driven IP strategy, the starting point is that an inventor within the company believes he or she has invented something innovative that is of interest to the company and eligible for protection. Whether an intellectual property right is applied for, and how it is drafted, depends not so much on what the inventor and the patent attorney know about the company’s current and future planned business model, but rather on the desire to apply for as many patents as possible, or it may be driven by considerations of the inventor’s rights.” and a value-driven IP strategy: “And precisely this is the core difference to a value-driven IP strategy, where the goal is to selectively protect the prioritized business model that has been coordinated across function boundaries. Thus, IP is selectively and actively procured with a focus on whether an idea is worth protecting, rather than simply eligible for protection. Moreover, an invention-driven IP strategy generally does not include the early, selective safeguarding of freedom to operate as does a value-driven IP strategy…”.

In addition, the authors claim that patent attorneys will have to be able in the future to speak the same “language” as the strategy, product management, development and production departments. They claim that patent attorneys can perform a role in developing a value-based IP strategy and being able to communicate on a high skill level, bringing creativity and team management to the business. This refers to an article published some years ago: Ghafele, R.; Hundertmark, S.; Reboul, Y.; Wurzer, A.J., It’s time to rethink IP education, Intellectual Asset Management magazine, 01 (2007) 28-32. There WIPO, CEIPI and other institutions celebrated the opening of a new IP management education: the MIPLM.

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