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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 Five Companies Are Trying to Accomplish

Companies at Level Five view their IP from a perspective different from that found at the lower levels. At Level Five, company IP management objectives include:

1. Managing granted IP as business assets from which value of some kind must be realized.

2. Using patent applications as “technology option” investments to place bets and hedges on alternative business and technology futures.

3. Continually refining and updating the IP strategy and portfolio of patents and patent applications against the changing business and technology conditions.

4. Defining and influencing one or more desired futures.

Companies at Level Five understand three things about the future. First, the future is not knowable with any degree of certainty. Second, although the future is not knowable, a company can define several viable and desirable alternative futures for itself, and then work toward making one of them happen. This second point highlights our belief that it is possible to enable your company’s desired future to come true. And finally, the object of defining one or more alternative futures from a company perspective is to be “in” one of these futures.

There are a number of ways to shape the future through IP, and the processes followed will differ from one company to the next. This chapter focuses on basic principles about the future and its context, and provides examples of how companies apply the principles, each in its own way.

In the first ...

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