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30th July 2021

IP Strategy

Season 1 Episode 5

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This episode features Suzanne Harrison IP strategy expert and author of the books Einstein in the board room and Edison in the Boardroom. She talks about the rise of IP strategy in the last two decades.

Suzanne was joined by the hosts of the Cipher Vision podcast:

Listen to a clip from this episode which covers the importance of setting timelines

Highlights of The Rise of IP strategy Podcast:

I come from the corporate finance and strategy background, which is not what one thinks when they hear IP expert. But I started out really interested in technology strategies. And so I worked for a consulting firm that helped me understand how to create corporate strategies and those sorts of things. I fell in love with the inventors and the technologies. What I do now is combining those two things, right, understanding how you predict the future of technologies, but also understanding the intellectual property strategy and ways that it’s utilised as a legal asset.

The real foundation of the gathering was that companies were trying to understand how to show this hidden value that they felt they had in their R&D groups or in their patent portfolios in ways that could move their stock price. And so once the gathering had been doing this and working on this problem for about five years, we had found a number of frameworks and best practices that we thought were really useful and companies across a variety of industries, were actually getting definable value out of that, and so we decided to share that with everyone and that’s how we ended up writing the books, Einstein in the boardroom and Edison in the boardroom.

We could take that patent, we could licence it in other markets, we could do all sorts of things to generate revenue, in addition to making and selling the product. And so that concept was really new. And that’s what I think we’re trying to get people to understand when you create a strategy is, what are the two or three different ways you’re going to use your portfolio to help you achieve your corporate objective? So let me give you an example

I think when you think about the fact that IP can be used in so many different ways, and for me, it would feel that a good IP strategy should include some of that information. What do you think constitutes good IP strategy?

IP strategy, IP is not just a legal, it’s also a business asset. It’s that word and which is the connective tissue. It’s this idea that you don’t have that idea that you don’t have intellectual property in a silo. And that you don’t have a business strategy in a silo. If there isn’t that connective tissue, then you don’t have a strategy at all. You can understand why that legal asset is delivering against your commercial objectives. They’re only asking the question, does it add value? Or does it mitigate risk? And if it doesn’t do one of both of those things, then they will turn off?

I think it should be measurable, and actionable. And as Nigel said, you have to be able to prove that it’s providing value, whatever the value is that you want. If it’s cost reduction, then calculate the cost. If it’s monetisation and revenue generation, then show me the value. If it’s market share, then tie it to the market share, show me how many points you increase market share, through your strategy.

We got IP into that strategy bucket. I mean, all of a sudden, no one ever included the lawyers another included, right, we want to show that IP brings value to the firm, and that it’s a it’s a part of the business. And I think we’ve done that. The bad news is that we have more to go, right, you know, everything you guys have been talking about in the podcast, using data to tell a story, you know, data, data, data is really the key to IP going forward.

Without a clear strategy, your organisation has no idea where you’re heading, how to get there, or how to measure success. You’re just wandering around in the desert wasting resources, and that’s just not sustainable in today’s fast paced business environment. So get an IP strategy, get organised, and deliver actionable results. Trust me, your management will thank you for it.

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