• last updated : 12 April, 2023

The Importance of IP Strategy: Why SMEs Should Have One

Category: Blog
IP Strategy

If you’re wondering how to grow your business in 2023, consider this: A comprehensive IP strategy is something that many Small to Medium Enterprises (SMEs) overlook. 

Some may believe that having an IP strategy is something that only large corporations should be concerned about. This, however, is not the case, according to the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and others. Innovations created by any company, large or small, are assets whose value must be safeguarded. 

The Economic Advantages of an IP Strategy 

When handled properly, intellectual property can be a significant source of revenue for any company or enterprise. According to the most recent World Bank Development Indicators, the global IP licensing market is worth more than $400 billion. The advantage of having a solid strategy is that intellectual property can become a long-term competitive advantage. 

A robust, thorough IP strategy can strengthen an organization internally by promoting an environment of innovation with established tactics to achieve the best return on investment. Involving stakeholders in the advancement, ownership, and utilization of emerging technologies, creative deliverables, and technological breakthroughs in general encourages collaboration. 

How to Begin with an IP Strategy Document 

A three-pronged approach to IP strategy is recommended. It ought to: 

  • put strong protections to safeguard your intellectual property. 
  • improve your R&D operations. 
  • monetize your intellectual property assets. 

Write down your plans for every single one of the three prongs in an official IP strategy document as you flesh them out. This will become a “living document,” which will be revisited and, if necessary, modified on a regular basis. Your IP strategy document should include the following elements: 

  • Identify the company’s goals and issues and how IP can assist in achieving or resolving them. 
  • Include an evaluation of the possibilities that your current and future intellectual property can exploit. 
  • It is possible to have access to all stakeholders during and after the development process. 
  • Be communicated to all other responsible personnel in order to encourage compliance with its methodologies and goals. 
  • Be executed and followed, not simply made and filed away. 

Here are some questions to consider as you develop your IP strategy:

1. What does the company intend to do with its intellectual property?

The answer to this question will lay the groundwork for the entire IP strategy.

2. What is worth defending?

Consider the value of your intellectual property. For example, patent valuation should be based primarily on the benefits it provides to your customers.

3. How are you going to monetize the IP?

Based on its specific IP and context, the company must consider monetization principles. Criteria must be established that recommend one option over another in a variety of situations. For example, should intellectual property be sold outright, licensed to generate revenue and possibly reach more people through the licensee, or shared in a cooperative relationship with some other company to benefit both entities?

4. How will you safeguard your intellectual property in other countries?

Policies for international IP protection should be developed, both for defensive purposes and to maximize financial reward from your IP.

5. How will you incorporate new intellectual property?

You should specify detailed procedures for handling new intellectual property internally as you develop it.

6. Will you require access to other people’s intellectual property?

A thorough examination of the company’s potential uses of others’ IP should be performed, and licensing agreements should be made, if necessary, to ensure that the company is not infringing on the patent rights of others. 

Managing the Strategy 

Organizations must establish an IP management infrastructure to guarantee the successful execution of the IP strategy. The IP management team’s primary responsibilities are as follows: 

  • Taking the lead in solving IP issues and imposing strict compliance with IP policies with clearly articulated deadlines for compliance. 
  • Monitoring extraneous parties’ use of the company’s IP in both local and global markets in order to capture IP income because of the business and to correct infractions. 
  • Putting in place a response architecture, including legal resources, to carry out a variety of practical enforcement options if the need arises. 

Importantly, the IP management team ought to have the ability to realistically analyze the odds of success vs. the cost of litigation in the event of an infraction, including having the tools to determine how strong the company’s IP is in a legal context. 

Not Leaving Any Earnings on the Table 

“Regardless of what product your enterprise makes or what service it provides, it is likely that it is regularly using and creating a great deal of intellectual property,” according to WIPO. That being said, SME management should always strive to maximize the value of everything a company produces, including not only its products but also the range of inventions that enable them. Developing a well-thought-out, forward-thinking IP strategy is clearly in the best interests of every SME. 

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