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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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What Level Two Companies Are Trying to Accomplish

Companies at Level Two take a somewhat broader view of defensive activity than do companies at Level One. Although both use similar elements in their IP management decision systems, Level Two companies are trying to accomplish four things:

1. Relate the portfolio to the organization’s business.

2. Establish a screening criterion.

3. Manage IP costs.

4. Begin to consider “make versus buy” technology and IP decisions.

At the same time that Level Two companies are working toward these goals, they are also engaged in two creative processes: (1) generating patents and (2) refining the processes they use to manage them.

At Level Two, patent portfolios and patenting processes are already in place. Management efforts in Level Two are directed at improving the patenting and patent management processes to minimize costs and to maximize the defensible benefits from patents.

In the previous chapter, we did not mention the management of costs, and for a good reason. Companies operating primarily at the “Defend Position” (Level One in our pyramid) often lack formal cost-control measures. They tend to review patents on an individual basis and are often blind to aggregate costs.

By contrast, companies operating at the “Manage Costs” level take a more comprehensive view of their patent portfolio. They are able to see the patterns and can aggregate all of the costs associated with IP and its management. They separate small-dollar decisions from ...

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