5 Tips For IP Leaders to Boost Their Product Development Process
Product development is the first stage in the life cycle of a product. After ideation and concept building of a product, one needs to ensure that the Customer Data Integration has been done and proper go-to-market research has been completed. If an organisation decides to go into the market with its product, there must be a clear business plan for the product development process.
The development process starts with an idea and ends up with a final product, which might have technical specifications related to Intellectual Property (IPs).
With the help of the following five IP tips,an organisation can surely boost its Product Development Process.
1. Structuring and Promoting the Internal IP Ecosystem that Promotes Innovation
A fully protected new idea can be the opportunity for an organisation’s success. These days, organisations cannot afford to work on a static/rigid business model wherein no new ideas or innovations are entertained. There is a constant need to be updated in line with the technological advancements happening overnight. In this current scenario, many organisations encourage their employees to share an idea that might be commercially viable.
With the help of a robust IP system, these ideas can be protected at the inception stage. Such ideas can be registered with the help of an established internal IP ecosystem, wherein they can be duly protected. The organisations must structure their IP ecosystem in a way that promotes security and innovation.
2. Aligning IP Decisions with Business Objectives/Goals
Intellectual Property in the form of patents, copyrights, trademarks, or trade secrets is an asset to the company and is required to be managed and protected accordingly. Although it is important to establish an effective IP strategy to protect innovations, it is even more essential to identify current and future core business objectives to select the right type of protection. For instance, for an idea to be converted into a patentable invention, businesses often need to choose between using the trade secret route and patent route for protection.
Such a strategic decision must be made at the later stage of product development when all patentability requirements are fulfilled, including statutory subject matter, novelty, and inventive step/non-obviousness. At that stage, some of the factors that play a decisive role in finalising the route of protection are – the nature of competition and the invention, its business potential, and the possibility of its independent creation by competitors.
All these factors not only ensure adequate protection but also give businesses a competitive advantage in the process of product development.
3. Using IP Information in the Research & Development (R&D) Stage of Product Development
In today’s competitive technological environment, having a full-fledged research and development (R&D) team that executes the product development process efficiently is imperative for the success and sustainability of any organisation.
Patent documents are essential for optimizing the R&D process. They provide critical information on state-of-the-art technology, enabling businesses to preclude resource wastage during product development. Patent information enables organizations to reduce the high cost of the process and provide valuable inputs that can be used for product improvement or design-around inventions. This ultimately cuts down the long process of bringing a new product into the market.
4. Out-licensing Non-core IP
While designing their product development process, companies must also pay attention to those existing IPs that might not be essential during the product development life cycle. These types of IPs often add up to the cost of the project and reduce the margin. Preferably at the initial stage or during the review stage of the product development process, the company must go through their existing set of IPs and distinguish them into the category of core vis-à-vis non-core IPs.
Non-core IPs must get the proper valuation done, and after considering the amount invested in these IPs, an organisation may take a decision if there is a need to out-license some of their IPs. Hence, they must draft the policies dealing with the situation wherein the organisation decides to out-license their non-core IPs. It has been observed in some cases that the cost involved in the product development process has been reduced drastically by out-licensing their non-core IPs.
5. Using IP (cross-licensing) to Enter Technical Partnerships for Improved Product Development Process
Establishing and maintaining a robust IP infrastructure for a successful product development process requires an organisation to make huge investments. These days, various organisations are availing the option to cross-license their IPs to achieve economies of scale. It is a win-win situation for both the parties to share common IP during their product development stage – as long as there is no conflict of interest or competing innovations.
However, it may be noted that technology licensing does not necessarily mean that there is a technology transfer between them. Cross-licensing may serve as the basis for research partnerships with companies/universities that are developing complementary technologies. For example, a biopharma company developing a new antibody can leverage IP to partner with a company developing a platform technology for antibody production.
Apart from various other factors, the success of a product development process also depends on how the company utilises its existing or future set of IPs. With the help of the five tips mentioned above, we can say that an organisation can surely boost its product development process with the help of IPs.
-Harsha Agarwal (Life Sciences) and the Editorial Team