"It is only a matter of time before the integration of IP and product development becomes part of the mainstream business process. Companies have to decide whether they want to be leaders or laggards as this happens." John Cronin, Managing Director & Chairman of ipCG, and Brad Goldense President and CEO of Goldense Group, Inc. are the authors of "Integral IAM and new product processes are the future," published in the November/December 2009 issue of IAM Magazine. Their article stresses the importance of becoming an early adopter to the growing trend of merging intellectual property and business goals.
Most new product development processes do not integrate with intellectual asset management (IAM) and intellectual property (IP) processes. It is still quite rare to find consideration of IP issues in a documented business case for a new product. Although technical feasibility studies and product design reviews touch on the subject of IP, the full IP risk and opportunity assessment is most often uninformed by data and left in the hands of the legal department or outside counsel. In their article, John and Brad point out that this is often the result of a fear of integrating the knowledge of IP with the marketing and engineering processes. For example, conventional managers "feel that knowledge of patents of others may actually hamper creativity and limit new designs."
Leading product developers and innovative companies are beginning to recognize the value of more integrated approach to product development, IAM, and IP. This value is embodied in key business benefits such as: better protection from copy cats; improved freedom to operate; earlier patent filings to counter patent office delays; price premiums and higher margins driven by IP protection; and earlier understanding of IP threats before the product design freeze. These companies are paving the way to a new future for product development: the "IP-enabled generation." They are installing strategic IP processes such as IP landscaping, mapping, and strategic directed inventing on the critical front-end of product development to mitigate risks and maximize ROI. As a result, IP and IAM expertise is dispersing to a greater population in the organization across business, marketing, technical, and legal IP functions.
Through a deconstruction of IP processes and a historical review of identifiable "innovation generations," John and Brad conclude that industry is quickly entering "the IP Era." The success of the next generation of industry leaders will depend upon their willingness to embrace the integration of IAM and IP processes with new product development.