As I reviewed our 2017 Patent Program Benchmarking Survey, I was excited to see that an increasing number of companies are embracing key performance indicators (KPIs) to help them not only increase the operational efficiency of their patent portfolio programs, but to also increase the quality of their output. This increased corporate focus on patent quality resonates with me. For years, many of you have likely heard me express my belief that quality over quantity is a critical path for all of us. It ensures that we can develop strategic intellectual property programs for our companies. It also helps further improve our Nation’s confidence in our intellectual property system, which has taken a hit over the last decade due to the unfortunate use of dubious-quality patents for litigation settlement purposes.
Enabling companies to unleash the power of innovation
It’s now February, one month into the new year. Are you trending to meet your 2017 patent filing commitments? Of course, we’ve all been saying quality over quantity – but for many companies, tracking the number of filings is still one of the most straight-forward ways to gauge the success of their patent programs. Below are three key questions that every patent department should be asking.
They say, “money talks”, but does it really? How effective are financial incentives in motivating behavior among inventors with respect to submitting invention disclosures and supporting the patent application process? I haven’t done any official research on this, but my ad hoc experience suggests that many inventors are considerably more motivated by the non-financial incentives than the financial ones.
One of the biggest challenges faced by IP departments is ensuring that new ideas and inventions are captured. Of course, it’s critical to remember that the submission of invention disclosures that are so valuable to IP departments are unlikely to be the primary concern of your inventors. With limited exceptions, most inventors aren’t focused on “inventing” – they have day jobs. They are likely more concerned with creating, building or enhancing new products and services that can be sold, rather than capturing those ideas in invention disclosure forms so that they can be patented. This also means that their thinking can sometimes be limited to what will likely be productized and not necessarily what might be possible or innovative. To supercharge your company’s patent program, consider these five simple steps: