On several occasions this last year, we were asked to consult on business initiatives where the groundwork on the marketing plan had already been prepared by a well-recognized and prestigious management consulting firm. Our clients recognized in their planning that they had a major hole to fill in terms of an IP strategy plan. To get to the point, with all the good research that had gone into the marketing plans, no one had yet given ample consideration to whether our clients had the freedom of action/operation to take those initiatives forward, and what actions they should take to gain or secure that freedom of action/operation. At our client’s requests, we completed the overall plans by adding the IP strategy.
In an era of increased global competitiveness, it’s curious to us that failing to communicate an IP strategy as a part of a marketing plan continues to happen so often. We know why it happens. IP strategy is still not a significant part of most curriculums that teach business strategy. IP is still something that “legal handles.” Those not in the know often feel secure enough just knowing that “we got a patent on that” without really understanding what that means.
An IP strategy needs to be a part of a marketing plan. IP is a tool to shape markets to the advantage of an enterprise, and leaving it behind denies the enterprise the opportunity to use that tool even as competitors may use it against them. That simply does not make any sense. In fact, in particularly IP intensive environments such as wireless, you could argue that companies should be attaching marketing plans to their IP strategies and not the other way around given the power that IP has to determine what they can and cannot do.
(This is number 38 in our list of IP mistakes and how to avoid them.)
(Image credit: Hemera)