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Written by Alex Butler

How to Measure IP Success

At the 2013 IP Business Congress last week in Boston, I was joined on stage by senior executives from Thomson Reuters, Raytheon, Dow Agro Sciences, and others on a panel aimed at determining whether in-house IP departments are cost or profit centers. We were pleased to see a standing-room audience eager to hear our thoughts during the 90-minute session, and we were able to cover a wide-range of topics.

A few central themes emerged:

1. The importance of understanding an organization's strategy and objectives. In other words, measurement and metrics can drive behavior.

2. The importance of identifying both leading and lagging indicators and analytics. For example, patent filings are a leading indicator of patent grants.

3. The high value of incorporating "quality" analytics and perspectives -- such as patent claim quality -- in addition to traditional quantity and time measures.In addition to using internal measurements, myself and the corporate executives on the panel (as well as those in the audience) see high value in identifying and comparing performance to external benchmark firms.

Combining this inside/outside view with a recurring evaluation discussion helps supply factual context to elevate IP department and IP decision performance to broader business discussions.

Some of the examples we identified during the talk include R&D planning, C-level decisions and board updates, and investment and capital allocation decisions.

A final question raised by an HP executive in the audience related to how measurements might be used to improve "revenue."

It was my contention (and still is) that the best measures are not necessarily about revenue. Rather, that strong IP understandings, measurements, and analytics often focus more on "returns" (ROI) and "margins" by helping build competitive advantage, improved decisions, and lowered cost. 

I invite you to learn more about IPVision and how we use analytics to improve the performance of our clients.

Please contact us to begin the discussion, or simply leave a comment below.

Categories: Patent Analysis