Best Practices for Level Four: Synthesize Opportunities

In Levels One through Three, companies have been utilizing IP in fairly traditional ways, either aiding in risk reduction or generating additional value. Level Four companies begin to evaluate how IP can help drive change in their organizations, such as open innovation or new revenue models. To do so, however, requires some questioning of how the firm currently operates, and whether and how IP can add value. Gathering companies have defined two best practices that will enable companies to discuss how they can and should utilize IP. They are:

Best Practice 1: Understanding the relationship between invention and innovation.

Best Practice 2: Managing IP risk/reward trade-offs.

Best Practice 1: Understanding the Relationship between Invention and Innovation

In 2001, when Edison in the Boardroom was first published, one of the most novel concepts in the book was that IP could be used as both a legal asset (to minimize risk) and as a business asset (to maximize value). At the time, patents were typically tied to the company’s core business (and innovations); the legal defense and business use of patents were focused accordingly. Since then, the IP ecosystem has undergone a dramatic expansion based upon these principles (see Appendix C). Although the IP ecosystem is in a continual state of evolution, we believe that it is currently out of balance. The focus over the course of the past decade has moved away from the defense or use ...

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