Vincent Brault, SVP of Product & Innovation, has over 20 years of experience in the IP management software and services market. In this blog, he shares his experience working with IP leaders in their efforts to create IP awareness within their organizations and demonstrate IP value within their product teams and senior management.
When you first started your career in IP, what was the role of IP in a company?
When I started my career in intellectual property, except for a handful of companies ahead of their time, IP was very obscure and not well understood. IP teams were frequently on the receiving end of ideas and more tactical in terms of protecting an organization’s innovation. Too often, IP value was underestimated; in fact, it was even seen as an obstacle and bottleneck by business partners.
How has that changed in 2023?
Today IP is earning a seat at the table and being seen as essential to business. Progressively, IP is being included and is at the heart of C-Suite discussions. The discussions are on topics such as competitive positioning, litigation and licensing, M&A, pharma exclusivity, and much more.
How has this shift impacted how IP executives are focusing their time?
IP is no longer just receiving ideas from R&D, which was the case 25 years ago. Now I think intellectual property is on the frontline of innovation and business decisions. IP leaders are more involved in discussions with C-Suite. They are looking at what areas of the business are underperforming, what segments are doing well, and what needs to be done now for the business to be successful in the future.
If you oversee IP for your organization, you know exactly the underlying technology in your products and your competitors. With this understanding, you can identify the gaps and give feedback to the business on where to build new products. It’s all about doing the work early on to ensure that a few years from now, you have an IP portfolio that provides value to the business.
With guidance from IP, your R&D team is not going to have to innovate in a vacuum. They're going to work on very specific business problems.
IP leaders also understand where the competitors are moving and are actively working to block competitors from certain markets or from moving into higher-value add activities. They’re also looking at establishing freedom to operate to make sure that the business can sell products without facing litigation.
What do you hear Anaqua clients say about their efforts to build IP value internally?
Despite this shift in the strategic role of IP teams, there still is a lack of understanding across organizations as to what IP does and how to develop the value of IP in their companies. A few of our clients have mentioned how they are showing their business leaders how IP provides a competitive advantage and adds value to the business and the work their colleagues do.
There are a few different ways we hear our clients are creating greater visibility for IP in their organization. They lead training and Q&A sessions for example. And the sessions aren’t just pure education sessions on what IP rights are, which is what we often used to see. They are bringing together different perspectives such as inventors, engineers, and attorneys to talk with the business about their work and how they are driving innovation.
How does AQX support IP teams and business partners to collaborate more effectively?
The challenge is for IP teams to have IP management software and a framework that facilitates these business and IP decisions. More and more organizations are embracing quality over quantity in their patenting strategy. Especially given the current global economic environment, we hear more patent professionals stressing the importance of selectively patenting where it makes the most sense, not simply getting patents to market quickly. This requires a decision-making framework for determining when the cost of obtaining and maintaining a new patent will really add value to an organization and support its goals.
Our clients tell us that the Anaqua AQX® IP management platform is the backbone that enables IP teams to work effectively, use IP intelligence to make informed decisions and collaborate with their peers. It enables their teams to have efficient processes, clarity, and transparency amongst all stakeholders regarding responsibilities, tasks, and terminology.
For example, you can bring your colleagues from different business units to collaborate with your IP team. You can use the dashboard view to show the Board of Directors your innovation strategy, foreign filing strategy, competitive position in the market, IP portfolio spend, and more. Historically, IP teams have needed to pull together this information manually for their business leaders. AQX is designed to help IP teams quantify their business impact and better collaborate, and partner with business partners across the organization. It’s really IP starting to drive the business.
Any final thoughts to share?
Efficient and strategic management of intellectual property is complicated. Bringing discipline to the process of managing IP, breaking the decision-making process into small problems, and being collaborative, are some of the best ways to have effective and informed intellectual property management. We’re collaborating with our clients on IP teams to create a framework where they can really engage with the business and work together to align business with the creation and protection of their valuable IP assets.