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Five often overlooked IP gaps that can derail your innovation strategy

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CAS explains the five high-risk areas of IP for R&D organisations and identifies how companies can protect their innovations and safeguard their growth potential

Robust IP strategies underpin the success of innovation-focused organizations. Gaps in critical IP information or management can put years of product development in jeopardy and lead to potential legal risks. For example, you might miss a competitor infringing on a patent of yours, underestimate the value of your existing assets, or let a promising commercial opportunity pass you by.

Below are five common gaps in IP strategy, and how to ensure they do not compromise your organization.

1. Proactively monitoring your IP assets and the relevant landscape

The first step towards building a robust IP strategy is to take stock of your organisation’s existing IP assets. Many IP stakeholders lack sufficient information on their own IP portfolios to fully support valuation and monetization.

Meanwhile, companies report that they have not fully utilized IP information across their organizations, even in such critical areas as R&D. Companies might monitor patent publications from known competitors, but miss new market entrants and tangential technology areas.

Many companies are turning to more powerful tools and services – in-house or outsourced – to ensure they don’t miss important developments.

2. Are you missing IP disclosed beyond patents?

Growth in patent and non-patent publications and media makes it increasingly difficult to find every possible source of prior art that can threaten patentability. These include journal articles, dissertations, presentations, and much more.

Companies are using IP search solutions that provide a holistic review of the dynamic IP landscape, covering both patents and a wide variety of non-patent references to reduce the chance of missing important information.

3. Do you have a knowledge transfer and succession plan?

The number of people involved in searching and using IP information in organisations is increasing, particularly at the early stages of innovation. Unfortunately, this can create knowledge gaps, because not everyone has the depth of expertise to design effective search strategies and use the right tools properly.

IP stakeholders should be properly trained on searching and assessing IP information. To ensure this, some organisations find it useful to assign responsibility for IP education to someone in the company. Comprehensive process documentation can help ensure that important knowledge is not lost if key IP specialists move on or retire.

4. Could your partners be putting your IP at risk?

The accidental sharing of confidential IP information constitutes a significant risk to R&D organizations, posing a greater threat of financial loss than hackers and some other external security threats.

Training employees on IP security can help to combat this, but does not address security gaps posed by external partners such as researchers, law firms, or search services. It is important to ask partners to document how they store, manage, and share information to be confident in the steps they take to maintain the integrity of your IP.

Our report outlines eight key questions to ask your IP partners in order to protect your IP.

5. Could specialised tools help your IP work be more precise and efficient?

Ensuring that all IP stakeholders have access to the right data, information, and tools is key to a successful IP strategy. This is especially true in the areas of chemistry and life sciences where information is often found in structures, drawings, charts, and other

In addition, IP is becoming more difficult to search and monitor as research becomes increasingly global and interdisciplinary. Therefore, using specialised search tools – such as chemical structure searching, numeric property searching, or thesauri and semantic searching – is crucial. This could be either via a licensed commercial search tool, or by partnering with a search service such as CAS.

Click here for our complete report, which provides more information and comprehensive IP checklist for leaders.

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