From paper to platform: the future of IP management


From paper to platform: the future of IP management

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The IP Platform aims to transform IP management and help customers work more efficiently, as Simon Webster of CPA Global describes.

IP has played a central role in innovation for centuries, yet is one of the last major industries to fully benefit from the transformational impact of technology. Many IP practices and processes remain, in effect, manual.

IP teams are often forced to wrestle with legacy systems, resulting in inconsistent data and inefficient communication throughout the ideas lifecycle. With the increasing pace of innovation and the growing number of time-intensive IP tasks accompanying growing portfolios, IP teams remain overwhelmed. How can IP management practices adapt to deal with the changing IP landscape and its impressive growth?

"Time-intensive manual processes are replaced by automated services such as the File and Renew Apps, all available within the platform."

Developing a product from an intangible idea takes time and money and includes numerous stakeholders and manual tasks: invention capture and disclosure, docketing, filing, communication with agents and outside counsels, report generation and distribution.

The increasing scale and volume of filings is challenging overstretched corporate IP departments. According to the World Intellectual Property Organization’s annual “World Intellectual Property Indicators” report, innovators across the globe made 2.9 million patent applications in 2015, representing a 7.8% increase from 2014 and the sixth consecutive year of rising demand for patent protection. Trademark applications increased by 15.3% to almost six million in 2015, with worldwide industrial design applications growing by 2.3% to 872,800.

Some industries are choosing to forgo protection altogether, because the time it takes to obtain IP rights means products would be redundant before they are achieved. The electric vehicle company Tesla has said it will not pursue patent lawsuits against anyone who, in good faith, wants to use its technology. Its aim is to grow a market for cleaner transportation—recognising that competition can help mass adoption gain traction more quickly.

The old world of IP protection is therefore colliding with the new business practices of growing innovation and markets. To be able to better serve the innovation economy, IP practices need to adapt.

The future of IP management

In tandem with research firm B2B International, CPA Global conducted a customer survey to understand the importance of technology in the IP industry and the role it will play to empower IP professionals in the future. The responses revealed current IP market expectations and how implementing new technologies could make IP management more straightforward, cost-effective and rewarding.

Many of the 300-plus IP professionals surveyed feel that current IP solutions are too complex and could benefit from a level of automation. Seven in ten respondents believe that IP technology will play a more important role in business in the future, but in what way? Users want a solution that allows instant access to IP information, automates manual processes and provides an integrated service that easily transfers data. 

The survey revealed a desire for solutions that provide powerful data insight to drive strategic business decisions. Decision-making forms the basis of what customers claimed to be the most attractive features in an IP service: automatic validation of IP data against patent office data; the ability to manage the full IP lifecycle and a seamless user experience.

Customers want to reduce their administrative workloads so time and energy can be spent fulfilling other tasks. Law firms and IP teams recognise how good IP technology will enable them to provide a greater service, secure efficiencies and gain competitive advantage.

Out with the old, in with the new

As IP information is passed between stakeholders, it can quickly become inconsistent or outdated. Without connected platform services, current information is near impossible to share or validate and this can greatly affect decision-making and the generation of meaningful data from IP.

CPA Global’s customer research revealed that information, connectivity and consumption are key areas where improvement is needed. Speed in accessing verified information is fundamental and respondents expect a move towards more automation in the future. Businesses are increasingly driven by simplicity, accessibility and usability—it is these criteria that should be applied to a new form of IP management.

Many of the CPA Global survey participants expressed interest in using an all-encompassing online platform to manage their ideas and IP, a service that would enable seamless interaction with other stakeholders and automate manual processes.

Platform technology has the ability to transform the way IP information is shared and used to generate insight. Online platforms enable a number of tools, datasets and services to be accessed in one place, from anywhere with an internet connection. These platforms are facilitating a new era of business communication that provides simple access to detailed, granular insight for the customer.

Technology platforms have been adopted by some of the most successful brands in the digital age to provide a multi-layer, connected service. Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, Microsoft Dynamics and Uber all use platforms to deliver new ways of communicating, sharing and travelling. 

Connecting the ideas lifecycle

With traditional IP management system (IPMS) offerings, IP professionals have been trying to work with disconnected, overburdened systems and inconsistent data sources, detached from outside counsel, foreign associates and patent and trademark offices. A connected IPMS platform will combine and integrate the expertise of IP professionals involved with the ideas lifecycle.

Technology has the capability to connect hundreds of agents across more than 200 different IP jurisdictions to provide a simple, more streamlined approach to global IP management. Connectivity could also mean accessibility through all connected devices and the opportunity to deliver an improved user experience and access to relevant information at the touch of a button. 

A technology platform also improves reporting for law firms and IP teams. IP professionals are often required to provide customers with accurate, timely updates. Current reporting software is largely complex and therefore a more user-friendly reporting solution is required. An IPMS platform with dashboard functionality enables information to be presented to different types of users on demand.

IP Platform

Through its in-depth survey, CPA Global discovered what customers wanted from future IP technology. After listening to customer feedback, CPA Global has delivered an innovative technology platform that is set to transform IP management.

The IP Platform by CPA Global provides faster, personalised and seamless access to IP products and services, as well as connecting customers to advisors and law firms across the IP world. It delivers new technology that enables customers to increase efficiency in global collaboration and generate unique business insight from IP data. 

It makes greater IP connectivity, integration and collaboration a reality for customers. Alongside a number of integrated apps and products, the platform is the first step to delivering the future of IP management. 

The CPA Global IP Platform™ provides assurance regarding the data customers receive and use—eradicating misinformation and improving data reliability. Time-intensive manual processes are replaced by automated services such as the File and Renew Apps, all available within the platform. Decision-making is also improved with Innography analytics that augments private data and presents the supporting dashboards in the right context at the right time.

When introduced to the concept of The IP Platform, 90% of the professionals involved in the IP survey saw the immediate benefits. Of those surveyed, 80% agreed they would use the platform if it could deliver the promised service.

Technology is rewriting business rules and industries that fail to embrace digitisation are at risk of being left behind. IP accounts for up to 70% of the global corporate balance sheet and is often the most important asset a company will own. The IP Platform provides functionality and analysis at customers’ fingertips so they can make better-informed decisions, more quickly.

The IP Platform will transform the industry with a single user interface that is easy, intuitive, personalised and connected; it supports hundreds of thousands of IP users. The IP Platform repurposes time, money and resources into the thing that matters the most—creating and realising the value of ideas.

Simon Webster is CEO at CPA Global. Having joined in 2000, Webster has spent the last 17 years developing a deep understanding of the IP industry. Before this, he worked in the UK financial services sector, leading business change programmes, delivering technology transformations and supporting M&A transactions. He can be contacted at: 

IP platform, CPA Global, Simon Websterm, IP landscape, innovation, IP management, trademark, patent,