Managing your IP portfolio for profit

By Stuart Fuller


What is best practice when it comes to managing an IP portfolio for profit - what should organisations keep in mind?

“Today, it is imperative for any business to develop an effective online strategy that protects their intellectual property, whilst keeping an eye on the opportunities that will arise in the digital world. The internet can be a dangerous place, with serious threats including counterfeits, piracy, reputational damage caused by social media and brand infringement threatening to de-value your IP assets.

In the past, an under-regulated online environment has discouraged companies from properly managing their IP assets. Recent attempts in Europe to establish a Unified Patent Court to tackle cross-boarder Intellectual Property infringements will go some way to reassure companies that their IP can be protected if the new institution is created. However the sheer size of the internet and its global nature makes it a vast vacuum with no government or regulator able to truly impose their authority, nor any single authority able to effectively police it. Therefore when managing IP, businesses should keep in mind the limitations of the current regulatory and geographical mechanisms that aim to safeguard online assets.

Before the internet evolves further, brands must develop an effective online strategy that protects both their intellectual property and their customers so that they can take advantage of the opportunities that changes to the Internet offer, with the aim to strengthen customer relationships and grow revenues.”

How do organisations map their portfolios and keep tabs on what they own + how each piece of IP is performing?

“Companies should make sure that their Intellectual Property is registered in the correct classifications for their intended use, and in the countries and jurisdictions where the brands will want to defend their trademarks, so that enforcement can be carried out effectively should any infringements occur.
The variety of digital platforms available, such as social media and mobile apps, make it difficult for those keeping an eye on their intellectual property online to monitor every channel all of the time. In terms of digital marketing for instance, choosing a legitimate advertising supplier and making sure that a degree of control is retained over any content placed by an affiliate network, will help organisations monitor the online footprint more effectively.

Business should write prescription clauses into any advertising contract stipulating liability if something does goes wrong. It is only those that adopt a proactive, precautionary attitude with their online assets that will successfully protect their brands online identity and continue to see the benefits of pursuing a multi-channel presence.”

How can software help and what is the latest software capable of?

“There is currently a disconnect emerging between the measures that organisations take to safeguard intellectual property offline and how they protect digital assets online. According to NetNames market research, a staggering 60 per cent of businesses have no system in place to protect intellectual property online.

Businesses must remain proactive when managing their online assets. It is essential to engage with brand protection companies that have software to monitor how businesses’ trademarks are used online to catch infringement early. The best software must focus on the areas of the internet in which the businesses operates most and be complemented by an infringement removal or takedown service – to deal with problems swiftly and effectively.”