21st century is a knowledge based economy where patents are viewed as more business asset rather than legal asset. So need is managers should understand importance of patents and start monetizing them. Companies in India (except few) generally understand that patents are just cost centers i.e. companies are spending huge amount of money in registration of patents. Patent Registration in India has certainly increased in last three years! Surely registration and protection is the first step of very good patent strategy but its time all managers and patent attorneys should start looking beyond registrations. Patents expenditure should bring a credit note in the books.
Companies invest in paying fees to patent office and patent attorneys. Surely technology used by company in its business should be well protected and but well designed patent strategy can work lot better.
Myth – Big Companies can file patent.
Reality – It is not that only big fish can dominate in the pond. Even new startup companies with right direction can make a big portfolio. Ittiam Systems, Bangalore has twice the patents held by Infosys.
8 step Patent Strategy in India
Protect your business key technologies – First advice of patent manager to the company should be registration of patent of key technologies in all markets present and future.
Invention Audit – Patent Manager should do a well detailed patent audit consisting of all patents, trade secrets related to patents, all invention disclosures which are not protected as patents, all defensive publication, all useful information held by persons in the company which is business trade secret to the company.
Patent Portfolio Management – Patent Manager should develop a key strategy to manage all inventions gathered in the audit. All IP disclosed can be managed against various parameters of financial importance, technical importance or may be legal matrix.
Enforcement Strategy for protected technologies – If the company has spent money in getting patents it should do every possible step to enforce them. Litigation is not only one way to enforce patents. Patent Disputes should be settled by Alternate Dispute Resolution Mechanisms (ADR). Especially India is infamous for its enforcement through courts. Patent manager should try arbitration and conciliation methods for cost effective and speedy disposal of the problem.
Make your portfolio profit centric – Enforcement of patents is a defensive approach which most of the companies follow. But companies should open its mindset to license its patents in its own industry. For example Apple has licensed to Nokia previously and is opening its dimensions to patent to its competitor Samsung.
Expand IP in all verticals of the company– IP should not remain to legal department of company but to expand to all verticals.
Find Acquisition Partners for your company– Collaborate and work. Search for companies holding technologies that compliment acquisition needs. In India new start ups looking for venture capitalist or investments with good IP can be one of the easy and cost effective acquisition targets.
Patent Strategically– Find the white gaps in your industry and try to patent strategically.IBM links its research division and innovation centres to indentify the gaps.