Nature provides useful strategic ideas we can draw upon in IP strategy because principles of strategy are universal. For example, nature tends to abhor inefficiencies unless those inefficiencies are somehow used to show reproductive strength. To illustrate, birds need to be light and highly streamlined to fly, but some male members of many species have excessive plumage that has the effect of showing superior genetics because an individual can still thrive while carrying the burden.
The only purpose for carrying IP that will not otherwise be used in some way is a decision that somehow the quantity of IP in a portfolio matters for some other import. The reason for this is that IP that has no purpose, because of the cost to maintain it and review it, presents an unnecessary burden. Burdens that do not provide competitive advantages necessarily become competitive disadvantages over those who do not carry those burdens.
One of the pioneering companies in Intellectual Asset Management, Dow Chemicals, got its start with the focus of optimizing its patent portfolio and saving millions of dollars culling unneeded IP. That effort quickly included making the best use of that IP that remained. It is a basic management decision for any profession: keep what you need, discard what you don’t, organize and exploit.
(This is number 35 in our list of IP mistakes and how to avoid them.)
(Image credit: Hemera)