Never mind the mainstream: it’s all about collaboration and communication.
Following up on the IP Strategy Forum 2017, presented by a team of experts last month under the auspices of Managing IP magazine and some illustrious sponsors, Aistemos CEO Nigel Swycher summarised the two most important things he came away with: First, … IP is no longer a specialist
First, … IP is no longer a specialist topic but is now a mainstream topic involving finance, marketing, tax, M&A, licensing etc. Secondly, … the answers to difficult questions such as how to manage risk and how to create value are to be found in collaboration across sectors, and multi-disciplinary teams.
Before getting excited about the notion that IP is no longer a specialist topic, it’s worth stopping to think. In one sense this observation is perfectly accurate: we are all acutely concerned with IP now, whether we are creating our own and commercialising it or merely seeking to dodge the bullets fired by competitors and others whose rights may traverse our own industrial activities. However, in another sense, IP has never emerged from its niche — the sense in which its concepts, its vocabulary and its consequences have remained shrouded in almost wilful ignorance on the part of so many people who are affected by it daily. This in turn addresses Nigel Swycher’s second point.
Consider this: when an individual suffers from a medical condition, he or she will generally be quick to take expert advice about it, to ascertain how long it is likely to persist and what sort of short- and long-term impact it might make. Terminology relating to body parts, medicines, treatments and possible adverse reactions will be swiftly mastered and the person afflicted will be keen to interact with experts from all relevant disciplines when dealing with diagnosis, therapy, convalescence and the like.
How different this so often is when a business has an IP problem. Information is often acquired from inappropriate or outdated sources and communications between the business afflicted and the necessary tax, marketing and finance inputs are put at risk by indifference, an unwillingness to dig down beneath superficial assumptions and by the hope or belief that the solution — whatever it may be — lies in someone else’s hands.
Collaboration across teams and between disciplines is essential; that much is clear. But the success of any collaboration is contingent on the extent to which the collaborators understand each other. For as long as tax, marketing and finance experts — and their clients — fail to master the notions that drive IP, their fate may be sealed.