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Fortune 100 machinery manufacturer protects innovation
The customer is a world-leading equipment manufacturer and a Fortune 500 enterprise. For decades, the company has delivered innovative products and services that help customers become more productive. The company is headquartered in the United States but has operations worldwide, and employs tens of thousands of people.
Innovation in equipment manufacturing businesses is all about helping customers become more productive. To stay competitive, companies need to increase invention disclosures, accelerate patent filings, and protect their intellectual property assets.
Managing a diverse set of patents
With a reputation for finding innovative solutions to everyday challenges, one leading equipment manufacturer invests more than $1 billion in research and development each year. That’s why the manufacturer has such a large and diverse set of patents to manage. At any given time, the company has thousands of active patents, retiring about 10 percent of them each year. In addition, the company handles several hundred invention disclosures annually from its engineering and design functions.
“Since implementing Lecorpio, we’ve been able to better manage our patent portfolios for individual businesses across our enterprise. ”
"It’s important to our customers that we stay at the cutting edge of development," says the company’s manager of intellectual property (IP) support. “They want to get the job done at low cost and expense, and they’re willing to pay a premium for our innovative products."
This relentless focus on innovation keeps the company’s global IP services department busy. With offices in the U.S., Europe, and Asia, the team operates at the enterprise level, deploying a team of attorneys and a similar number of support staff to handle all IP matters for the entire business. This function includes patents, patent prosecution, litigation, trademarks, copyrights, trade secret matters, and open source software.
But until recently, the company’s IP system couldn’t keep up. "Our so-called IP system wasn’t really designed for complete management of IP,” explains the manager of IP support. “It was good for capturing metadata—but if you’re really going to protect your IP and maximize its value, you need a much more robust solution."
An IP management solution that controls workflow
As the company began looking for the right IP management solution, it aimed to do more than simply record the data from patents filed. The company also wanted to control the workflow around patents so that it would have an easier time meeting deadlines and carrying out a wide range of patent-related tasks. Any solution would also need to address all aspects of managing IP throughout its lifecycle and connect the various activities that involve IP.
When we’re licensing a patent, we need to connect the license and patent, so that we can look at both sides and figure out what will be associated with each," explains the company’s IP counsel. "Or, when there’s a dispute involving a trademark, we want to be able to look at the trademark and the property at the same time so that we can see what related disputes we’ve had in the past."
The company also wanted to move its invention disclosure process from paper to the web. And it needed a system that could easily interface with outside counsel who provide IP-related services.
Armed with this long list of requirements, the company’s evaluation team—which included attorneys, support staff, a supply management specialist, an IT leader, and end users—took a full year to make its selection. After evaluating eight solutions, the company chose Lecorpio for several reasons. First and foremost, Lecorpio provided the comprehensive IP functionality the company craved. At the same time, Lecorpio proved to be configurable to the company’s workflow and processes—and Lecorpio’s web-based delivery model sealed the deal.
“We now have complete control over the workflow of processes such as filing patent applications. And because the system is accessible through any browser, we’re achieving immediate benefits worldwide. ”
"We weren’t willing to reengineer our processes just to accommodate our IP solution," says the IP counsel. "Fortunately, with Lecorpio, we didn’t have to. We now have complete control over the workflow of processes such as filing patent applications. And because the system is accessible through any browser, we’re achieving immediate benefits worldwide."
The company began its implementation by rolling out Lecorpio Patent Management and Invention Disclosure Management, and then launched the Trademark Management module before implementing Open Source Management.
Visibility into all IP Activity
With Lecorpio modules in place, the company now has something it has always needed: a one-stop shop for storing and tracking all data related to its inventions, trademarks, and patents. Users across the company and around the world can simply log onto one system to find information, manage data, or troubleshoot questions. Having this information in one place—without the need for manual manipulation of data—yields a variety of benefits.
"With Lecorpio, we’ve gained a reporting function we never had before," says the company’s manager of IP support. "We can see IP activity, status, and external costs at a high level, rolled up into one system. That means we finally have the visibility to manage our work based on hard data. This helps us with cost control, resource planning, and protection of our globally recognized brand."
The company’s IP department is now using Lecorpio as it develops and improves IP strategies for various businesses. "Since implementing Lecorpio, we’ve been able to better manage our patent portfolios for individual businesses across our enterprise," says the manager of IP support. "Lecorpio delivers the information we need to keep improving and redirecting our strategies."
The benefits of Lecorpio extend across the company’s enterprise. Inventors can now submit and monitor their invention disclosures online. IP committees throughout the company can use the system to review, score, and make decisions on invention disclosures. The company’s open source administrator can use Lecorpio Open Source Management to track requests, approvals, and conditions around his function.