Formulating an IP Strategy
Nicola Proudlock, General Counsel and Company Secretary, Snell & Wilcox Group, USA
This article reflects experience gained from putting together an intellectual property strategy for a growing, international company, rich in technological resources but with no previous internal legal support. The objective was simple enough: to give effect to the company's business strategy by determining the most appropriate processes for the protection and exploitation of IP. However, starting from scratch with this exercise was a challenge! What was needed was an initial evaluation exercise to clarify the extent of proprietary IP, as well as to check how it was being exploited. Next, we took a critical look at our IP processes, in particular the approach to patent filing and prosecution. Cost efficiency being the name of the game, we also scrutinized how the money was being spent, with the aim of providing IP protection as directed and relevant to key strategic areas as possible within budget levels. Finally, we rolled out a training program to personnel, with accompanying policies and guidelines. An IP strategy was born!
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