The Importance of Intellectual Property Management

Posted on February 2, 2015

by Christine Ross

Intellectual Property (IP) is one of the most important assets of a leading edge technology company.  Whether it be patents, copyrights, trademarks, trade secrets or know-how, it is critically important to identify it, document it, protect it and in some cases, register it.  All of this activity takes a team of engineers, technical writers, technology managers, and executives. Regardless of the size or composition of the team, it is advisable to appoint one person to be responsible for the overall management of IP.  This will ensure things don’t fall through the cracks as there is much to keep track of.  Good IP management also requires the development of a strategy in order to balance the cost involved in registering IP against the protection that will be required in markets you are in or plan to develop.

Another important part of managing IP is keeping tabs on what your competitors are doing.  Any time a competitor is awarded a patent, you should be examining it to ensure that you are not infringing on their IP.  If you are familiar with your competitors’ IP, you can design around it.  If you are not, you run the risk of an expensive and time consuming infringement claim.  Every once in a while, while examining a competitor’s patent, you might stumble across something the examiner missed.  When that happens, you have the opportunity to request an inter partes review.  Using a patent agent with experience handling post-issuance proceedings will greatly increase your odds of a successful outcome.  Acting on our behalf, Oblon was recently successful in securing a victory in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit on an objection we had to a competitor’s patent.  Additional details are available here:  Oblon’s Post-Grant Team Secures Appellate Victory for Client Intelligent Hospital Systems.

Regardless of what your strategy is, failure to manage your IP could result in a loss of competitive advantage.

Christine Ross is the Compliance Manager at Intelligent Hospital Systems Inc. and also performs the intellectual property management role for the firm.

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