The continued management of your intellectual property (IP) portfolio is an important and potentially demanding task, and it is thus important that you use professional figures with expertise in IP management to maximise your brand’s success.
A variety of professional figures can be employed in the management of your IP portfolio, from internal professionals to external counsel, as well as technology. Depending on the size of your company and portfolio, different management tactics may prove more beneficial than others, and it is important to be aware of your individual circumstances before undertaking to adhere to any of the following methods.
Management of an IP portfolio ideally employs an amalgamation of these three professional figures, however choosing only one or two can work depending on the complexity of the work involved in managing your portfolio.
In-house IP professionals
The first of these professional figures is an in-house department of IP professionals. This is a key way to ensure the successful management of your IP portfolio from within your own business. Experts in the legal protection and management of IP are crucial members of an in-house IP department, and ensure that issues concerning your portfolio are dealt with as they arise.
Having these professionals in-house means they will always be close by in case of any emergencies, and as your own employed professionals, they will be focused solely on your portfolio. An in-house team is also more likely to be aware of any ongoing issues or changes with your portfolio, and can therefore deal with them potentially quicker than external counsel may.
Employing in-house IP professionals to manage your IP portfolio may prove cheaper than hiring external counsel, as many businesses already have an internal legal department. Assigning the management of your IP portfolio management to these professionals will avoid the payment of additional fees.
If you do not already have an in-house department of IP legal professionals within your business, either because you have a small business or you outsource legal assistance to external counsel, then it may not be worth creating one solely for the purpose of managing your IP portfolio. Indeed, if you have been outsourcing your legal issues to external counsel thus far, then it may be more beneficial, depending on the size of your portfolio, to simply delegate the management of your portfolio to them too.
External counsels who are experts in IP are probably the most helpful professional figures you can hire to manage your portfolio. External counsel who specialize in portfolio management will have invaluable expertise and know the best ways to manage and exploit your IP to its full potential.
Regardless of whether you have an in-house IP department already and are looking for support in your IP portfolio management, or whether your portfolio would rely solely on external professionals, external counsel are a valuable asset to any business with IP.
External professionals are particularly more cost-effective than an in-house department where your portfolio is relatively small or you do not already have in-house professionals. Moreover, hiring external professionals to either supplement your in-house team or to manage your portfolio alone provides you the opportunity to ‘shop around’ – you can find the professionals who are best suited to your portfolio and your needs.
Technology - Artificial intelligence
Aside from in-house and external legal professionals, technology can go a long way to helping with the management of your IP portfolio. Currently, many pieces of software have been created to assist with IP portfolio management, such as notifying the owners of any potential impending issues or deadlines. This software is arguably key to the successful management of your portfolio, as well as substantially easing a lot of the burdens associated with IP ownership and management.
Looking forwards, there is the potential for artificial intelligence (AI) to form an even more important aspect of this professional IP portfolio management. With technological developments there is the possibility of AI taking the lead role in the management of IP and perhaps even replacing the roles of other professional figures altogether.
Such technology could identify issues with your portfolio and rectify them without needing to seek your input. Such a development could substantially ease the management process, as well as potentially making it cheaper.
However, currently these technologies cannot manage a portfolio without being employed by IP professionals, thus it is important to remember that finding the right professional figures to manage your portfolio – whether internal, external or an amalgamation of both – is key to its success.