A few years ago I wrote a personal vision of what it takes for a client to benefit from innovation. At the time I was seeking to integrate several models or typologies for the commercialisation of intellectual property. I titled my statement “RAPS Conversion Model“. It was like a manifesto. This post ends with a list of the 7 principles discussed in the RAPS statement.

I made up the RAPS acronym from Requirements, Assets, Perspectives and Systems. My focus was on how to convert intellectual property into value, hence the terms “Conversion Model”.

While I was not thinking of it at the time, RAPS harked back to the time of Leonardo da Vinci. You could be a painter and arty at the same time as gain respect as a scientist and technologist. All areas continue to be fuelled by imagination and creativity. Maybe we are returning to that age. I’ll return to this theme later.

In a nutshell the RAPS statement sought to provide guidance on the interplay between:

  • business thinking – involving concepts such as business processes, business functions, offerings and projects
  • management systems – for example, management of HR, IT, asset portfolios, risk, standardisation and projects
  • legal thinking – involving the concepts of law particularly intellectual property law

"mona_lisa_louvre"I completed the RAPS statement after many days of editing. I then put it aside.

Yesterday I revisited it as I’m preparing a two-day workshop to run for lawyers and senior managers in Singapore and Kuala Lumpur later this month. The topic is “Structuring and Drafting Technology Licensing Agreements”. How to commercialise and secure value from intellectual property is a central topic.

The workshop needed an ordered format which I developed earlier this year. This week I needed to finalise workshop materials. This led me back to the RAPS statement.

One of the challenges in developing the statement was to integrate thinking that encompassed two major groups which depend on intellectual property.

The first group comprises the informational and entertainment sectors (eg print publishing, music, film, software).

The second group comprises the industrial, pharmaceutical, chemical and mechanical sectors (eg inventions of various descriptions).

There is less of a gap between these groups than there used to be decades ago. A few centuries after da Vinci the existence of the two groups was bolstered by legal language. It became very normal to use the phrase “intellectual and industrial property”. In Australia this was the case up until about the late 1980s.

  • Intellectual property referred to the first group, which largely relied on copyright, trade mark and confidential information law.
  • Industrial property referred to the second group, which was principally supported by patents and design registration law.

Various trends have faded the distinction between the groups. In most cases nowadays the distinction is not made and is not useful. The change has come along with “open innovation” which for example results in industrial companies adopting an entertainment industry (or Hollywood-like) approach to production, involving use of spin-off enterprises and collaborations with contractors (rather than the use solely of employees). The landscape of large industrial pyramid organisations is now dotted with supporting acts or competing nibble start-ups and spin-offs.

So what are the 7 principles I recommend to clients seeking to benefit from innovation, intellectual property and its commercialisation? For brevity, they are set out below without their supporting arguments.

PRINCIPLE 1: To acquire value for a proprietor, creations, inventions and innovations should be combined with an intellectual property team, structured activities and strategy.

PRINCIPLE 2: Approaching intellectual property as an opportunity requiring an intellectual property team, structured activities and strategy helps increase and protect monopolies built on intellectual property.

PRINCIPLE 3: An intellectual property team needs legal and other environments conducive to creativity, invention and innovation.

PRINCIPLE 4: Tangible assets are useful but not essential for the development of intellectual property.

PRINCIPLE 5: The need to properly assess design requirements is a mission critical need since late stage design changes are much harder than they are for a change of strategy or tactics.

PRINCIPLE 6: Structuring is best achieved when the form and function elements of all perspectives are fused, integrated and unified.

PRINCIPLE 7: Without proper processes and competencies opportunities disappear.

Send me an email if you’d like a copy of the full RAPS Conversion Model which contains the supporting arguments.