A merger or acquisition isn’t a success until integration is achieved. People, processes and systems need to be integrated into a cohesive entity. Each of these aspects has its own areas of complexity and requires different managerial skills.
From an IP Management Software standpoint, the diversity of the IP docketing systems and processes that existed in different entities now requires alignment. And the problem is compounded by the need for fast implementation.
Such an IP management software integration effort must essentially aim at integrating or consolidating intellectual asset management processes, eliminating duplicate IP docketing software systems, standardizing and conversing business-critical IP asset data and developing an overall implementation roadmap.
Post merger and acquisition, the Top 5 success factors for a successful IP management system migration include:
Get your vision down on paper
IP management integration is a multifaceted, multivariate problem requiring a solution that can analyze, evaluate, compare, and integrate the IP asset data from each of the merging organizations’ core patent and trademark docketing management systems.
Establish key metrics to monitor your progress.
At a minimum, the plan must include:
- User Impact Analysis (including inventors, patent committee members, paralegals, internal and external patent counsels.
- Business process impact and consolidation of best practices.
- Risk assessment (including delays in recordation etc.)
- Data uniformity and data migration.
- Custom developments on the software for IP Management.
- Legacy docketing systems retirement.
- Testing and quality assurance
- Conversion and downtime impact
- Long-term support
Too many patent departments have a very narrow focus during the post merger process, they focus too much on bibliographic and docketing data. There is no denying that docketing data is important, however don’t let that drive the integration process. Post merger, both departments need to demonstrate features and capabilities provided by their systems and look for opportunities. The “not invented here” thinking should be banned. Just because an idea is originated from outside the acquiring organization does not make it redundant. The focus should be on leveraging the competencies of both companies.
Get Your Timing Right
After the merger, the intellectual property rights of the acquired company need to be transferred into the name of the new owner in each jurisdiction where such rights exist. Timely recordal of a change of ownership is critical to protect the ongoing validity and enforcement of intellectual property rights. This can drive the need for fast migration. If the acquired entity have significant IP assets, break the data in parts and import it in phases. Here is the sequence that can help you get there:
Start with bibliographic data. Follow this with docketing, then IP licenses, IP assertions and other transactions, and finally invention disclosures.
It is a good idea to validate your plan with the IT department. For example, before you plan on transferring the data for invention disclosures, IT must allow employees of acquired entity an ability to log into the new system to view their past invention disclosures and submit new ideas.
Prepare for Data Issues
It is not uncommon to find companies use a broad mix of hardware, operating systems and software with patchwork maintenance. Over time, a company’s IP management systems for invention disclosures, patent and trademark docketing, licensing and other related systems undergo incremental changes. This patchwork approach introduces data migration issues. Many times, inventor names are not matched against HR data. The products, technology areas and client groups need to be revised for the imported data. This requires a better understanding of data schema and tools for bulk update. It is better to do these changes prior to migrating the data into the final system.
During transition, it is important to have training materials ready and up to date. Clear and constant communication of vision, goals, and objectives can keep inventors, paralegals, patent committee members, In-house counsels and outside law firms on the same page and and help everyone to stay focused. It is important that all stakeholders are fully engaged and that training programs developed during integration planning are institutionalized.
Lecorpio IP management services have helped several IP departments consolidate multiple IP management systems into one by defining a common architecture for deploying and enhancing the existing data from both organizations. Lecorpio provides services to cleanse, consolidate and standardize the data against public data sources for error-free operation of IP management system and ensure continuity and data integrity.