Intellectual property portfolio management oversees a collection of IP rights in order to better protect them. This involves various processes and procedures to increase that protection. 

An Introduction to IP Portfolio Management

A collection of intellectual property rights is called an intellectual property, or IP, portfolio.

It's more important than ever to effectively manage an IP portfolio, for several reasons, such as the following:

  • How quickly technology is developed
  • The increasingly competitive atmosphere and reach of the technology arena
  • The sheer volume of patent information

Managing an IP portfolio the right way can improve your efficiency and give you a competitive edge in today's marketplace. In order to do so, you'll have to use processes and tools that have traditionally worked in the business world, such as the following:

  • Analyze and acquire data
  • Mine data and set up a database to gather and store information
  • Effective communication connecting legal, business, and technical teams
  • Program management methodologies

When you couple continuous, effective improvement processes with given tools, you create a standard for IP generation and management that can result in balanced risk and predicted outcomes.

About IP Portfolios

Intellectual property rights are an incredibly useful and valuable asset for a company to have. Like physical assets, it's possible to leverage IP rights, although these rights are intangible assets. However, they still have value. These rights take several forms, including the following:

  • Trademarks
  • Patents
  • Trade secrets
  • Copyrights
  • Brands
  • Goodwill

When a business has a multitude of IP rights, it's important to organize and manage them properly in order to maximize their value. Typically, an IP portfolio contains rights that share a commonality. For example, a company may develop an IP portfolio just for the company. It may include the following:

  • Copyrights for marketing materials
  • Trademarks for the business name and logo
  • Patent protection for a product, especially when the business markets a single, main product

On the other hand, some companies create IP portfolios around one product. If a business develops a product containing a software component, it may develop an IP portfolio that only contains IP rights that relate to that single product.

The Value in a Well-Managed IP Portfolio

Anyone who manages a business understands how important it is to maximize their return on investment, or ROI. This includes the ROI delivered by equipment, products, and employees. It can be simple to overlook a very important asset, however, which is your business's intellectual property, including all the intangible knowledge so vital to making your business run.

Managing your IP brings invaluable rewards, such as the following:

  • Finding new ways of making your company stand out from competitors
  • Giving you a competitive edge
  • Increasing your market value
  • Expanding investment and partnership opportunities

Just as important as it is to manage your business, it's just as important to manage your business's IP portfolio. 

It can be very valuable to your company to have comprehensive IP protection on a product. It's vital to pick and choose the appropriate IP rights, as well as understanding the scope they may have in carving out a section of the market exclusively for your company.

IP rights are valuable business assets, and the various ways an IP portfolio can help your company include:

  • Creating a barrier of entry: Your IP portfolio may stop competitors from coming into your valuable commercial space. For instance, holding a patent portfolio  around new technology involving the main product or patent, along with additional patents covering variations of your invention, will prevent competitors from using, making, or selling your product or anything that's similar. Basically, your well-managed patent portfolio creates a protective space that keeps others out.
  • Attracting investors: Once you create a barrier to entry, investors will be more interested in investing in your company because they understand you have an exclusive space in the market. Your IP portfolio shows them you have a vested interest in your company and product.
  • Adding value: A comprehensive IP portfolio can make your business more valuable, so it can increase your profits if someone wishes to buy IP rights associated with your company or product.

When you manage your IP portfolio properly, you add value to your company and give it important protections in today's increasingly competitive market.

If you need help with intellectual property management, you can post your legal need on UpCounsel's marketplace. UpCounsel accepts only the top 5 percent of lawyers to its site. Lawyers on UpCounsel come from law schools such as Harvard Law and Yale Law and average 14 years of legal experience, including work with or on behalf of companies like Google, Menlo Ventures, and Airbnb.