One of today’s challenges in developing an efficient IP Management organization is the right choice of IP Management Software that does not only support the administration but creates financial returns.
The current shift towards a knowledge driven economy creates expectations that patents and trademarks should generate economic benefits and financial returns rather than being treated only as a costly insurance against idea theft and unlawful copying. However, particularly for companies with larger portfolios and limited resources this complexity creates a big challenge. Software manufacturers respond to that evolution with a broader set of tools and a more business related approach on IP-Management. Still, there is a large spectrum of offerings from basic IP administration and docketing up to analytical tools supporting portfolio optimization in light of the company’s business objectives.
The Goal: Create Returns
Firstly, although many manufacturers claim to do “IP-Management”, only a few providers actually address this aspect in the sense of a value-oriented IP-Management aimed to manage a portfolio of rights to provide exclusivity in a customer market, reduce risk and therefore provide higher returns to the company. To decide whether a patent is valuable for the business, the IP management software needs to include data on the specific business environment, also known as complementary assets. A few manufacturers such as Anaqua or CPA Global recently introduced a set of tools, which seem take a more holistic an business oriented view on IP.
Subscription Model versus Outside Expert
The majority of offerings are based on the classic subscription model with monthly or annual fees and permanent tool access. This is of course attractive to providers as it allows for recurring revenues and fits for larger clients and bigger portfolios for the daily tasks. Still, many patent managers have an occasional need for more specialized tools, for instance for IP strategy development, IP landscaping or white spot analysis. Here the cost for an in-house tool with the necessary training of staff is often too high. Here we see service providers such as Questel who offer external expert support on an hourly or daily basis complementing traditional tariff plans.
Monolithic local installations versus Cloud Based Services
On the operational side many providers move to cloud-based tools replacing the traditional client or client-server software packages. This creates savings potentials as patches, backups and updates become redundant. Centralized instances make sense particularly in the light of the massive amounts of data to be processed. Most of the recently launched platforms now are browser-based and use graphics supported dashboards.
List of Providers Available on Request
We have put together a preliminary list of software manufacturers and service providers including product names, web addresses and headquarter locations. This list can be a good start for an evaluation when it comes to selection of a suitable IP management tool.
You can request a free copy of the document by sending an e-mail to the author firstname.lastname@example.org.