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IP and R&D: Accelerating innovation and mitigating risk

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CAS explains how intellectual property (IP) is becoming increasingly central to companies, particularly to research and development (R&D) teams, and highlights five key findings from a survey of senior business leaders

IP management within commercial companies is seeing a significant shift as teams adopt new practices and technologies to maximise the value of their IP strategy.

CAS surveyed 80 business leaders, most of whom were director-level or higher and specialized in IP and R&D, about the IP information management goals and challenges in their companies. Read the full report here.

Covering topics such as the role of IP in organisations, IP information access and investments, and IP information gaps, CAS distilled the survey responses into five key findings, which are explained below.

1. Utilizing IP resources for R&D is IP managers’ top priority

R&D teams are keen to use IP resources earlier in the R&D process, and 60% of IP managers said their top priority is to facilitate this in order to support business discovery. IP information can enable companies to strengthen their competitive analysis and identify potential inventions with the best prospects and the lowest risks for future patent disputes.

Managers can also use IP information to discover whitespace opportunities and evaluate potential licensing partners, who are valuable for helping to accelerate the time to market and avoid litigation.

2. Managers want greater collaboration between IP and R&D

In light of the value that IP insights can bring to R&D, it is striking that only 55% of managers are fully utilizing it, with only 30% of managers fully using IP to inform business development. As respondents to CAS’s survey noted, collaboration between R&D and IP teams can facilitate the faster discovery of new innovations, while mitigating litigation and competitive risks.

Managers said that improving the utilisation of IP insights will require wholesale employee education, driving awareness in companies about the role of IP and the value it can bring to the wider business. By creating formal teams from R&D and IP colleagues, these teams could collaborate more consistently on goals and processes.

In addition, technology and training can facilitate the more effective use of IP insights. Respondents suggested deploying more robust software platforms and data sources, along with training on how to use them, to allow all employees access to IP information and encourage its use.

“If we had better tools to share IP information, the company could improve management of existing and future patents and applications,” said one senior R&D director at a small US pharmaceutical company.

3. IP information is of increasing strategic importance to R&D and business development

Close to 60% of respondents to CAS’s survey said that IP searches are increasing in strategic importance across organisations, as particular IP searches are decentralized to teams including R&D and business development.

The most prominent factors driving the importance of IP searches, according to respondents, are use in R&D (46%), and competitive analysis (31%).

Companies are increasingly using IP searches for assurance that a product emerging from R&D will have a viable commercial future. “It does us no good to spend time and money on a program[me] whose product cannot be commercialized,” said one senior patent information scientist at a large US pharmaceutical company.

4. Companies are investing to combat insufficient expertise, which is the top obstacle to fulfilling growing IP information demands

As IP insight increases in strategic value, three obstacles stand in the way of it being effectively utilized to its full potential:

  • Scientific and IP subject matter expertise

  • Insufficient knowledge of new business technologies

  • Limited staffing capacity

To combat these hurdles, nearly half of respondents will invest in new technologies, 46% will increase outsourcing, and 37% will increase staff training. In line with this, 38% of respondents told CAS that IP search budgets are expected to grow.

Companies are increasingly investigating artificial intelligence (AI) as a tool for improving searches, with managers emphasizing the need to distribute solutions throughout the company to teams less familiar with finding and analyzing IP information.

“We are updating our strategy as a team to support the growth aspirations of the company. This includes a look at how we resource our searching capabilities,” said an information manager at a large US agrosciences company.

5. Companies will increasingly outsource IP searches to offset gaps in capacity and expertise

Internal adjustments will not be enough to fully offset the lack of search staffing, and 40% respondents said they will increase outsourcing over the next 12 months as more R&D program come online and advance through commercialization.

The most common reason for outsourcing is to tap into a pool of expertise to can quickly respond to complex information requests as new technologies emerge, R&D become more collaborative, and regulatory bodies exercise greater scrutiny over submission data.

New technologies are available to deliver the right information to individuals responsible for making business-critical decisions. A flexible business partner like CAS, with unique data, technology, and expertise, can help accelerate the transformation of organizations seeking to utilize IP insights to optimize productivity, streamline processes, and improve decision-making for discovering new opportunities.

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