Tuesday, 5 July 2016

IP Strategy in the Boardroom: around the Roundtable

A Roundtable can never be better
than what participants bring to it
Last week Aistemos hosted an IP Strategy Roundtable, in which participants discussed the following issues:
  • Is intellectual property recognised by boards as an asset class deserving of C-suite attention? 
  • What changes are likely to occur in the next 5 years to corporate reporting of IP and IP strategy? 
  • What are the key elements of an IP strategy that will transform IP from a cost to profit centre? 
  • What data and analytics need to underpin IP strategy, and how should they be presented?
Aistemos took this event as an opportunity to publish the results of its survey -- results that were interesting and alarming in equal measure. In short:
  • There is complete agreement that IP strategy should be a boardroom issue, but a general consensus that cost and risk issues travelled faster than an appreciation of relevance and value of IP to business strategy more generally. What has changed is the number of directors who now have significant experience of IP, and this is having a positive effect; 
  • 71% of respondents think that R&D decisions do not take IP issues into account. The patent attorneys present agreed that traditional after-the-fact reviews of invention disclosures were not a substitute for technology foresight. There was 100% agreement that R&D functions understood the importance of exclusivity (preventing competition) and the risk posed by infringement of third party rights; 
  • Only 14% were in favour of greater transparency, but the discussion suggested that there was no accepted view of what this term actually means. 35% are in favour of IP being a balance-sheet asset, but the discussion swiftly appreciated the significant problems and obstacles that may make this a bad idea; 
  • There was no shortage of ideas for improving the management of IP. All roads led to the need for better communication, and broad stakeholder engagement. There was also recognition that IP decisions must be supported by data and that improvements in accessibility of IP competitive intelligence was helpful; 
  • The Roundtable concluded with consideration of investor and lender attitudes. There is a view that investor attitudes were generally improving, and this may in part be attributable to US investment (Silicon Valley, for example, never ignores IP). The position was less satisfactory for lenders, where it is thought that 75% of lenders do not understand IP.  It was felt that we are clearly a long way off IP routinely being used as security for debt.
Aistemos intends to continue this research and, if you would like to be involved, please contact Aistemos CEO Nigel Swycher

You can check out the PowerPoints for this Roundtable here,

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