The Importance of Intellectual Property Management Technology
By Mary Juetten
Over the past seven years, I have written about the importance of protecting intellectual property (IP), mainly with small businesses. Of course, with over 300 billion in IP theft annually in the United States, IP protection is critical. However, from startups to all size businesses, including Fortune 500, IP is often a company’s most valuable asset. Software that captures and manages IP to leverage and maximize value helps IP attorneys, in-house counsel, and small business owners alike.
Last year, I wrote about Lecorpio’s solutions and in-house key performance indicators here. I have also written about the need for technology and good data for decision making in the law and the in-house legal department. General Counsel (GC) must have solid data and analytics for executive and board presentations.
If you follow the IP space, two giants, Anaqua, Inc and Lecorpio merged this summer. Post-announcement, I had the pleasure of connecting with several Anaqua executives about the merger, IP management systems, and the future of IP management systems for in-house counsel and firm attorneys.
Mary: First, what doses the merger mean for both companies?
Bob Romeo (CEO, Anaqua): I joined Anaqua in 2015 to lead our growth strategy. In a nutshell, Anaqua helps corporations and law firms turn IP into competitive advantage. Our software platform combines insight from big data analytics with critical tools, best practice workflows and services into one efficient, intelligent environment that helps IP practices work more efficiently and make better decisions faster.
With our recent merger with Lecorpio, the newly combined company will focus on powering corporations and law firms with the tools to streamline operations, gain insight, and maximize the value of IP assets. The newly combined company will continue to operate both brand names and support both software platforms while maintaining its existing geographic presence in the U.S., Europe, and Asia.
Mary: What is the pain point for those professionals tasked with managing IP?
Bob: GCs and IP attorneys need a single IP management system that streamlines tasks and delivers comprehensive reporting to manage their IP. It was once a luxury for IP attorneys to provide – and GCs to receive – robust, clear, and visually appealing reports supported with easy-to-digest charts, graphs, and data. Today, it’s simply expected.
From an internal perspective, GCs and IP practitioners need to measure their own performance, identify weaknesses, and spot bottlenecks in their operations. Software tools provide a data-driven performance review across an IP team. Further, analyzing productivity metrics, IP leaders can identify areas for internal improvement that drive growth and sophistication.
Mary: As Anaqua GC, can you comment on the evolution of IP asset management for attorneys.
Alexandra Letts (GC, Anaqua): IP asset management is evolving beyond docketing, task management, and prosecution. First and foremost, General Counsels and firm attorneys need an efficient IP solution. Process automation is a best practice IP teams must implement to thrive our competitive global economy. IP Management tools improve productivity by reducing data entry, streamlining drafting, and alleviating a myriad of other tasks that consume significant time and expose an organization to risk. First class IP Management tools must also provide a layer of statistical analysis and data visualization.
Mary: How have these IP management solutions changed over the past 5 years?
Bob: Just five years ago, attorneys were using a mix of paper, digital files, and long complex spreadsheets that take countless hours to produce and just as long to digest. Today, it’s easy for IP teams to access digital documents on-the-go, provide and review detailed reports fast, and evaluate a massive amount of data through integrated patent analytics enabling leaders to make smarter IP and business decisions.
Alexandra: With the recent drive for attorney productivity in the legal space, software vendors began developing automated drafting tools, like Anaqua’s Studio Suite, to help attorneys draft higher quality patent applications and Office action responses. Coupled with integrations to Private PAIR and automatic docketing, today’s solutions are shifting an entire IP team’s effort towards higher value work. Law firm leadership can now focus on more calculated business counseling, and corporate management can ensure their IP assets properly enhance the business’s strategy.
Mary: When making the case to purchase these IP solutions, how can in-house legal demonstrate the value to the organization?
Alexandra: GCs and legal operations must show the safety and risk mitigation that a single system provides to their business's IP. Moreover, an automated system simply makes your legal team’s life easier, reduces errors, and saves your company or law practice money. IP is the single biggest growth driver in most corporations today, so protecting it is a critical task that deserves the best technology available to do it.
Bob: From an executive perspective, the best way to demonstrate the value of modern IP management solutions is through a structured business case detailing the cost savings from implementing a holistic approach to IP management. From a product perspective, ensure that the IP team understands the level of productivity they’ll receive from process automation. From a business perspective, demonstrate enhanced decision-making capabilities garnered from integrated analytics.
Mary: Looking forward, what are some of the trends in IP management software?
Vincent Brault (SVP of Product and Innovation, Anaqua): In my role, I am responsible for leading the product and innovation strategy. Earlier this year, we surveyed our existing clients along with other corporate and law firm IP teams about future trends in their space to ensure we align our product vision with their needs. The top trends identified by corporate teams included:
- driving and capturing innovation;
- aligning IP to business needs; and
- leveraging data analytics for decision support.
Law firms are looking for solutions to better serve and collaborate with clients and enhance cost management. To do this, they’re looking to implement automation, business development, and attorney productivity tools. Pervading both industries, AI and machine learning are beginning to deliver actionable intelligence to IP and business leaders that drive efficiency across all IP operations.
Bob: Big Data is transforming the way business leaders execute their objectives. There’s significant data available to organizations both internally and externally. What we’re seeing is that analyzing this data gives us new ways to achieve positive results, and IP management is no different. For instance, we uncovered a new way to use patent data - what we call Forward Examiner Rejections. The data enables corporations to identify potential patent infringement and uncover licensing opportunities. For law firms, this data enables them to engage clients at a higher level and provide more valuable strategy based counseling.
As all have outlined, the GC is responsible for identifying, protecting, and leveraging IP and supporting the entire executive team in terms of risk mitigation and compliance. Technology is the new normal. In-house lawyers and legal operations professionals must have software that can produce data and information to regularly report on performance to retain their equal seat at the executive table. IP is a complex area and spreadsheets may still work for startups and very small businesses, but cannot scale appropriately for large organizations. #onwards.