Looking Forward: IP Predictions for 2015 Part 1

The IP landscape is changing. Let’s review some of my IP Predictions for 2015 and be sure to share your comments.

Intelligence Throughout IP Lifecycle

Data is more prevalent than ever before.  From scientific literature, to PAIR/prosecution data, to granted patents and patent sales, the IP world has become flush with useful data.  I believe 2015 will be the first time that each phase of patents (pre-disclosure to non-renewal) gets "Intelligent."

By applying metrics, benchmarking performance and using predictive modeling, professionals can optimize the entire IP process.  Which disclosures should be filed, and what can be done to increase the likelihood of approval?  What’s the best path to take for office actions? Is abandoning a patent the most cost-effective path?  Should I continue to maintain these patents if they provide no economic value?  What are my most valuable patents?  What are the likely outcomes from pending litigation?  These are just a few of the questions that plague companies on a daily basis.  This year will mark the first time all these questions can be answered intelligently with objective, meaningful metrics.  Look for corporate budgets to become more predictable while their portfolios retain the desired trajectory.

Executive Accountability

High profile news and changes from NPEs, legislation, and Supreme Court rulings have heightened executive awareness of IP issues.  Budgets are coming under scrutiny because of increased AIA filings, causing companies to improve forecasting accuracy and look for ways to enhance licensing revenues.  The IP function is now a corporate story that involves multiple stakeholders.  I believe this year we will see increased accountability from executives, as well as more defined business metrics for operations and budgeting.  IP groups will increasingly need to communicate in business terms and metrics similar to other departments such as finance and accounting.

Increased Alignment Between R&D and IP

"Technology companies held $309 billion more in cash at the end of 2013 than they did in 2009, accounting for 53% of the increase for all non-finance companies." (http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-03-31/apple-leads-u-s-companies-holding-record-1-64-trillion.html).  This is an amazing statistic that highlights the importance for companies to continue to invest in new products, acquisitions, etc. to realize a return on that capital.  

With increased focus on R&D, the connection with IP becomes more prominent.  The M&A activity of 2014 was robust, with many high profile deals being driven by the IP held by the acquired companies (e.g. Oculous by Facebook).  Bridging the gap between the IP department and R&D will become increasingly necessary to align with business goals to put the cash to work.

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