IP and the innovation funnel

New product development is the core process of innovation management. Here, the product ideas are refined, until a new innovative product is launched to the market. The basics of the new product development process and the integration of IP can be learned in the Certificate course on “Integrated IP and Innovation Management” at CEIPI. The next course starts on 15.09.2020.

Greg A. Stevens and James Burley conducted an analysis how ideas are finally leading to successful product launches in new product development processes. The results were published in the 1997 paper “3,000 Raw Ideas = 1 Commercial Success!”, where they found out, that during the idea refinery process in a company it needs around 3000 raw ideas to come up with only 1 successful product launch. In more detail, from the 3000 raw ideas only 300 are considered as useful enough to shortlist them for a second project stage and 125 end up as small projects. Those small projects lead often to a patent, but only 9 are continued further in large projects. Finally, four projects are taken close to a launch, 1.7 are finally launched and one launch is successful. This narrowing down of raw ideas until the product launch of the most promising ideas resonates in the concept of the innovation funnel.

From an IP perspective it is of utmost importance that at every stage in the new product development process IP is included. At the idea stage, there are usually many degrees of freedom regarding product features. So, at this stage the risks of IP infringement cannot be assessed very precisely. When the new product passes through the next stages of the innovation funnel, nevertheless, the product specification become clearer. This leads to better IP analysis possibilities. So, the IP department must closely be connected to the innovation process to be able to make precise freedom to operate (FTO) analysis. Only this way the creation of exclusivities for the newly developed products is systematically possible.

A related master thesis in the topic of “Potentials of AI-based third-party rights analyses for digital business models” was conducted by Roland Bittner from Siemens.

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