Wednesday, 26 April 2017

In praise of facts: a short thought on IP strategy

Facts must be more than
right -- they must also
be accessible by those
who have to act on them
Today's inaugural IP Strategy Forum, organised by Managing IP magazine and sponsored by Aistemos (among others), proved to be a great success, judging not only by the comments of those who had the privilege of attending but also by the fact that almost everyone stayed on to the end of what turned out to be a long, hard -- if thoroughly enjoyable -- day.

Many of those present were from IP's Big Battalions and their professional representatives, but others who made their presence felt were drawn from the banking, investment and academic sectors too.  Some were there to learn; others to meet celebrity speakers or old friends; others were there to gain some comfort from being able to share their feelings and their ideas with like-minded colleagues.

A rich and varied programme, populated by such different speakers, is a surprising place to find consensus, but there was something on which everyone was agreement -- whether talking about Industry 4.0, standard-essential patents, M&A due diligence, securitisation, valuation or anything else.  The subject of this unexpected unanimity was the need for information that was current, accurate and capable of being absorbed and understood by decision-makers who appreciated the importance of intellectual property while being unfamiliar with its detailed vocabulary and technicalities.

If, as it seems, the need for user-friendly information that can underpin the right decision is universal, it remains puzzling that generations of service providers have failed to deliver it in the manner demanded by its users.  IP analytics, as provided by Cipher and its competitors, is a discipline that has arrived late upon the scene, being a happy product of technical progress in the processing and presentation of available data.  But there remains a question of how well the legal profession and business advisers can communicate their knowledge to those who so keenly need it.  Now that we have the facts at our fingertips, it still remains to get them across.

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