A company’s IP portfolio is an important tool for strategic business planning. An IP portfolio is used for structuring and evaluating the IP rights of a business, i.e. its patents, utility models, designs, and trade marks.
All companies need to be able to hold their own in a competitive market-place and to establish the scope of their operations. To this end, being technologically distinct from one’s competitors and differentiating oneself by way of trade marks and other distinctive features are vital. Having intellectual property rights is an effective way for a company to protect its core business from competitors and also to achieve a near-monopoly position for the company within the scope of protection of the IP rights in its portfolio.
Companies should therefore implement their own portfolio management systems and should seek advice in this regard from a patent attorney. The most important tasks involved in this include a detailed compilation of ideas, in particular of inventions made within the company, taking into account statutory deadlines, an examination of the ideas with respect to their eligibility for protection, and an assessment of the expected benefit of such IP rights to the company. The IP rights should be arranged in categories in the company’s patent and trade mark portfolios.
The IP rights can be backed up with relevant business indicators and can be summarised in the company’s IP portfolio. The portfolio can then be examined with the help of a patent attorney for potential weak spots and analysed with respect to company targets. In order to fill any gaps that may have been identified, incentives can be offered to encourage the generation of ideas and developments in certain technological fields and/or existing IP rights can be purchased or licensed from third parties. Alternative measures to buying or licensing individual IP rights include mergers, joint ventures, or participation in start-ups. With an efficient portfolio management system, the competitiveness of a company can be substantially improved.