VIEWS: 110 PAGES: 10

More Info
    Intellectual property portfolio management should be guided by innovation strategy;
         considering the market context and innovation strategies in operation yields
                                 a framework for IP strategy.

                                                 Paul Germeraad

OVERVIEW: One way of assessing the business value                    transform the disclosure into a patent application. The
of an invention is to consider the patent’s role in the              first step in this decision—determining whether the
company’s overall innovation strategy. A study of over               invention disclosure meets the legal hurdles of novelty
100 companies’ patent portfolios and practices revealed              or utility—is relatively easy. The second step becomes
that the structure of successful patent portfolios is closely        much harder when the invention meets these patent-
connected to particular innovation strategies. Best prac-            ability tests, but its value to the company’s business
tices to manage innovation and create intellectual prop-             position is unknown. One way of assessing the busi-
erty vary by time-to-prototype and time-to-market;                   ness value of an invention is to consider the patent’s
unsurprisingly, practices for managing and leveraging                potential role in the company’s overall innovation
IP vary along the same axes. The matrix of factors cre-              strategy. In fact, as a study of over a hundred com-
ated by overlaying IP attributes on innovation strategies            panies’ patent portfolios and practices revealed, the
can be used by company patent committees and R&D                     structure of successful patent portfolios is closely con-
managers to guide decisions about whether, how, and                  nected to particular innovation strategies.
where to protect new technologies.
KEY CONCEPTS: intellectual property, IP strategy, in-
novation strategy, games of innovation                               A Framework for Innovation Strategy
                                                                     The “Games of Innovation” model, developed by the In-
                                                                     dustrial Research Institute’s (IRI) Research-on-Research
Company patent committees face a difficult task. When                 Subcommittee on Innovation in collaboration with Dr.
a new invention is brought forward, the committee                    Roger Miller at the Polytechnic University of Montréal,
must decide whether to invest the time and money to                  provides insight into the range of innovation strategies
                                                                     used by companies (1 ). This team surveyed over 700
                                                                     companies in various industries to find patterns in the
Paul Germeraad is currently President of Intellectual                way innovation processes were related to R&D manage-
Assets, Inc., a management consulting firm special-                   ment styles. After studying how the participating com-
izing in integrated business, R&D, and IP processes.                 panies went about innovation, Miller, his students, and
Dr. Germeraad previously worked as Director of R&D                   subcommittee members were able to show that there
and NBD at Raychem, Director of Flexible Pack-                       were eleven types of “games of innovation”—or innova-
aging Technical Center for James River, and Vice                     tion strategies—utilized in managing R&D (Figure 1).
President, Corporate Research, at Avery Dennison                     Each of the eleven strategies were common to particular
before becoming COO of Aurigin Systems, a dot-com                    industry sectors; companies using a particular strategy
start-up. Paul has been Chairman of the Industrial                   were competing in similar environments and typically
Research Institute; he is active in the Licensing Ex-                focusing their efforts on one class of innovation, such as
To top