In recent months, companies have been impacted by an uncertain economy which has resulted in many IP departments being asked to tighten their belts. Dealing with uncertain economic times requires a heightened approach to managing intellectual property, and below are a number of strategies to consider:
- Look for Lower Cost Alternatives for Managing IP: Administrative activities related to IP can consume a considerable amount of an organization’s time and attention. To guarantee that only essential IP tasks are handled by in-house counsel, delegating non-critical activities, such as IP administration to an external third-party can prove helpful. In particular, companies should consider lower-cost offshore options for time-consuming or ad hoc projects.
- Right-Size Your Patent Portfolio: Patent portfolios require ongoing management and monitoring. Companies should periodically evaluate their portfolios to ensure that they align with business goals and objectives. This exercise will help determine whether to renew, license, sell or abandon patents altogether.
- Renew Patent Assets: For those patents aligned with business objectives, patent professionals should ensure that these assets are clearly identified within their IP management systems and marked for renewal.
- License Patent Assets: Companies can also assign their patents to non-practicing entities (NPEs). NPEs can then license the patents to third-parties, resulting in royalty payments to the company.
- Sell Patent Assets: When considering the sale of patents, it’s essential that patent professionals identify who would possibly be interested in buying the patents and to whom they would be interested in selling. IP professionals can work with an experienced patent broker to help navigate the complex sales process, evaluate patents, identify potential buyers, and negotiate favorable terms.
- Abandon Patent Assets: Abandoning a patent means you surrender your legal rights to it, which can help you save money on maintenance fees and legal costs. However, be mindful that abandoning patents may also open the door for competitors to exploit the abandoned technologies.
- Pause Patent Prosecution: In extreme cases where budgets have been unexpectedly cut, pausing prosecution activities handled by outside counsel is another option, albeit one that will have downstream ramifications. While doing so may only delay expenses, it can provide a short-term solution with regards to conserving cash.
Many of these strategies require resources to implement. MaxVal’s team of IP experts is here to assist you with a full suite of IP software and services that can help reduce costs, streamline processes, and optimize your patent portfolio. If you seek a solution to manage your portfolio end-to-end, check out our IP management Products and Services.