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Edison in the Boardroom Revisited: How Leading Companies Realize Value from Their Intellectual Property, Second Edition by Patrick H. Sullivan, Suzanne S. Harrison

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Best Practices for Level One: Defend Position

What, then, is the best way to defend IP assets? The current practice of defending one’s position is adequate, but not ideal. Having a narrow, permanent defensive mentality can cause companies to incur unnecessary costs and forsake potential commercial opportunities for capturing value. To be an “Edison” company requires a pragmatic approach—one that adopts certain best practices.

So, let’s look at the practical application of defensive IP management, and examine some of the best practices used by other defenders.

In our own work, as well as with the experiences of Gathering companies, we have been able to define four best practices areas that companies excelling at enlightened defense incorporate into their IP management function. They are:

Best Practice 1: Taking Stock of What You Own

Best Practice 2: Obtaining and Maintaining IP

Best Practice 3: Building IP Awareness

Best Practice 4: Enforcing Defensively

Best Practice 1: Taking Stock of What You Own

The value of research and development (R&D) is often invisible—not only to outsiders, but to IP managers as well. That great new technology just perfected by your R&D department and patented by your legal group will never appear as an asset on your company’s balance sheet because it was internally generated, rather than purchased from someone else. Will you remember that it is there?

In our consulting practices it is not unusual for us to interview corporate officers and find that ...

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