Intellectual property law can be glued onto a creation or invention to give it legal and hopefully market and financial strength. Intellectual property lawyers, patent attorneys, trade mark attorneys, and marketing consultants all have relevant expertise.
If all you do with them is apply their IP glue to what you already have, then you’ll get what you ask for, a quick fix.
If you avoid the rush and seek more, consider this.
The intelligent design of your creations and inventions involves integrating legal, management, technical and creative know-how from a range of advisers and consultants. Before turning to a quick stick bandaid solution for your baby project, consider the bigger picture for the work of the experts.
Here are 10 steps for legal modelling and innovation management, ie management of an innovation.
The term innovation is used here as shorthand for a creation, invention, business system or technology.
The term innovation management also needs a short explanation. For the management of technology the term of art is “technology management” [Wikipedia definition]. In the entertainment industries (book, music, film, merchandising etc) the term “rights management” is prevalent. Flowing from that we have “digital rights management” [Wikipedia definition] for digital media files. For simplicity we’ll group all terms under the umbrella term of “innovation management”.
So here are our recommended 10 steps for innovation management.
- Adopt a disciplined method for innovation management including project management, focus on customer needs and alignment of research and development to marketing plans.
- Use advisers and collaborators (eg joint venturers, licensors and colleagues in your networks) to obtain resources which are non-core, vital or of superior quality to resources available in-house.
- Identify customer needs in market segments.
- Identify the differentiation of your innovative offering (goods, services, systems or a combination of them) to meet those customer needs.
- Develop the offering for the identified differentiation.
- Secure intellectual property protection. This includes:
- obtaining signature of agreements; and
- obtaining appropriate registrations of any patent, trade mark, design, domain name or other registrable property to ensure protection of the differentiation and gain exclusive or superior rights ownership or control.
- Use the differentiation as a component of the competitive advantage of the offering for market or financial goals, eg creating brand awareness, building market share, and obtaining premium pricing.
- Refine the positioning of the offering at either the offerings, operations or organisational structure level. This is a complex concept. Briefly, each level involves a bigger impact and generally higher levels of intellectual property or intellectual capital monopoly. The level you target to reach may seal the fate of the offering in terms of determining if:
- it merely serves a current market, or
- does better by extending the to a new market, or
- does best by creating a market.
- Monitor, anticipate and respond to competition against or relevant to the offering.
- Monitor and respond to the market performance and feedback for the offering.
Each to the above recommended 10 steps is supported by other writing on this website. In client work we certain practice what is preached here. The steps are about sowing seeds well, so you have a harvest to reap. This holistic approach is more likely to lead to market and financial strength.
Certainly, all you may want is protection of your copyright, trade mark, patent or confidential information.
However, if longer term financial and other business outcomes are your focus, then you’ll have to join the dots from protection to innovation management.
We regularly assist clients to implement this approach. For example, a client we assisted in 2009 is www.elegre.com. Since 1996 that food wholesaling business has distributed cooking wine and other speciality food products for delis. Feel free to contact the founder, Alex Vega of Elegre Pty Ltd, if you’d like to test our credentials for innovation management.