Collected Management Wisdom from Stratford Managers
IP Protection for Best Practice Innovation
In a recent blog post, my colleague Rene van Diepen described the lessons we can learn from Google on successful innovation. From my perspective, creating an environment for innovation goes hand in hand with a well crafted IP protection strategy. Looking back at the best practices cited in Rene’s blog, here’s some guidance on how to protect the intellectual property generated:
It requires a separate structure: Employees that are part of this structure should be aware of the importance of IP protection from day one. This means not just filing for patents, but also securing developed material from leaks, theft or loss. Employees should adhere to an explicit IP policy, participate in training “lunch & learn” sessions and implement the required processes for protecting any trade secrets or other types of IP created.
It requires different rules: Each employee involved in the creative and innovation process should be given targets for generating concrete IP (i.e. a trade secret or a patent application). Provide valued rewards to employees for creating (and protecting) concrete IP. Proper recognition of progress in protecting innovation should occur often – trophies, patent plaques on the wall, etc. And, of course, the patent protection process should be kept simple and not too time-consuming for busy employees.
It requires nimble decision making: The management team needs to implement simple and cost effective processes for filing appropriate IP protection for the ideas that are produced at a fast pace. Typically, this involves forming a patent council that meets regularly, effective invention disclosure processes and filings strategies, and tracking costs versus budget.
Google Bets was created just last year, so it is not yet possible to know how many patent applications each entity has filed. You can be sure that I will be tracking their progress though! I’m looking forward to writing a future blog post to show the trends of patents applications they produce.