Business Strategy needs IP Strategy

Bertram Huber

Additionally to your business strategy an intellectual property strategy is important. Expert Dr. Bertram Huber explains what an IP strategy should comprise and how to start with your IP strategy.

Dr. Bertram Huber is a principal of IP*SEVA. He is an international intellectual property expert based in Backnang (near Stuttgart), Germany. He is Rechtsanwalt (Attorney-at-law) under German law. He holds a Doctor degree in Law (Dr. jur.) from the University of Tuebingen. As former Senior Vice President of Robert Bosch GmbH, Stuttgart, Germany, and Head of Corporate Intellectual Property he is known and recognized as an expert in the relevant corners of the world. From 2000 until 2009 his responsibility comprised the global intellectual property activities of the Bosch Group, the worldwide number 1 automotive supplier and a company dedicated to environmentally viable, ecological and economical technical solutions which rates among the major patent applicants worldwide. Before joining Bosch in 1995, Dr. Huber headed the Legal and Patents Department of the telecommunications company ANT Nachrichtentechnik GmbH since 1983. Started his professional career 1978 at AEGTelefunken AG.

Business strategy without IP strategy?

In fact, a business strategy disregarding intellectual property is no strategy at all. Without taking account of the risks, but more even, opportunities intellectual property, and in particular patents hold, serious business planning is not possible. It can be compared with driving at high speed with your eyes closed.

Too often companies have learned about the importance of IP the hard way. For example, being confronted with unexpected patent litigation. If this happens in the USA, everybody knows how much “fun” it will be in a legal environment where reimbursement of litigation cost is extremely unusual, while at the same time litigation cost is unusually high.

Equally important is the fact that each and every entity, be it commercial enterprise, scientific institution, university, startup or multinational company, needs an IP strategy. Of course, the complexity of the strategy may and obviously will differ.

„A conscious and comprehensive dealing with intellectual property issues simply is a MUST.“

What should an IP strategy comprise?

It should, first of all have a defensive attitude. Because, as strong as you may be in your specific technical domain, there will (with rare exceptions) always be more patents outside, held by third parties, compared with what you hold yourself. Next, protection of your own technical achievements must be in focus: protection (i.e. typically by patent applications) of whatwherehow many.  All of this requires a detailed analysis of where you stand vis-à-vis your competitors in your present – and future! – markets.

But then, an IP strategy is not about patents alone. It comprises all of intellectual property, not alone industrial property rights, also including, besides patents, trademarks, designs and utility models. In the same way, copyrights, trade secrets and know-how must be taken into account. Here, the regulations of the EU Directive 2016/943 (8 June 2016) should be closely looked at and taken into account in order not to lose relevant protection.

Start with your IP strategy now

Board, womenSummarizing, if you are not already underway, start to embark on seriously elaborating an IP strategy for your specific needs. In doing so, take into account, of course, your capabilities regarding personnel and financial resources. And start to practice your strategy. General advice: Never ask for more manpower or more financial budget for doing something new/additional. Much rather, go ahead and start doing something meaningful and useful just with the resources you have available. And then maybe ask for more.

If you are already underway, continue to refine your tools and targets. It goes without saying, that your strategy and its implementation requires to be continuously enhanced and perfectioned.

And most importantly: start your strategy NOW – and be successful!

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