Patent departments are like no other. There are few business functions inside organizations that require the same level of globalized thinking, vendor management and client service.
Patent departments are also under constant pressure to deliver all this and more with limited budgets. Such requirements make their operations and delivery a bit unique and not so easy to understand.
IT departments often underestimate this complexity and suggest tools and products that are overly simplistic and place too much emphasis in data or document instead of process efficiencies. Most of these implementation fail to deliver.
Unfortunately, for decades these requirements were ignored by patent docketing software vendors. Most such vendors made a bulk of their revenues from annuity payment services and hence did not have any incentive to innovate or go up the value chain.
In the last few years, Lecorpio and some other vendors have championed the cause of IP management by providing process driven applications helping patent departments service their clients better and manage their service providers more effectively. Already, we are seeing increased momentum for change and successes to validate the need and value of an enterprise wide IP management system.
Here are some key peculiarities of patent management software deployment that the IT departments in mid-large size organizations may find useful-
Indeed the patent business is complex. The complexity is stemmed from the need for an intimate knowledge of the legal and cultural aspects of each country in order to protect patents successfully and make them available to products or services that are on the market in various countries around the world. Patent management system must provide functionality to address these needs.
Under budget pressures, most patent departments get creative and try to maximize their resources to the fullest extent. This makes their process unique from other organizations. While docketing function may be the same in most departments; Invention Disclosure Management, Open Source Management, Inventor Awards, International Filings, Patent Investigations and several other functions differ in companies. A cookie cutter approach does not work. The patent management system must be able to adapt to each patent department’s unique processes.
Most departments have not been involved in any enterprise scale deployment and lack adequate IT support, the patent management software project often go though 20-30% requirements change after the deployment. This requires that the system of choice is able to handle these changes without issues. The cost of managing these change can spiral out of control if the system is inflexible and requires code changes for such requests.
The patent departments place high expectations on IP software providers. In general, there is a lack of tolerance for errors which means you should check the references provided by patent management vendors throughly. Besides the product, ask them about issues faced during implementation, change management and support after “go live”.
Several progressive IP departments have realized successes in automating manual operations and made their teams more effective by using Lecorpio’s patent management system. Lecorpio patent management provides comprehensive features and functionality to manage invention disclosures, patents, docketing, licensing, conflicts, and budgeting. The applications are flexible and can easily adapt to each customer’s unique requirements.