Utilizing an IP Asset Management Database to Enhance Your Marketing Efforts – Part I

Editor’s Note: This is the first post in a two-part series examining the best practices that we have captured from utilizing an IP Asset Management (IPAM) database system to support our IP marketing and commercialization initiatives.

During our many years of hands-on experience in generating scores of licenses and successful partnership agreements for clients since 2001, Fuentek has relied on an intellectual property asset management (IPAM) database to support our core marketing process. We have found that this database, along with a collection of other best practices for marketing IP, has played a key role in our success in the commercialization of innovations across a diverse array of technology categories for universities, federal government labs, and commercial companies.

Maintaining an effective IP management database system positions your tech transfer organization to proactively monitor and manage your marketing initiatives and thereby get maximum value from your IP portfolio. A well-designed and successfully implemented IPAM database system facilitates communication, fosters collaboration, and is an invaluable tool to ensure consistent adherence to your licensing process.

Each of the commercial and proprietary IPAM database solutions currently available have their inherent advantages and disadvantages. However, we have found that the crucial factor to achieving maximum value from whatever database system you choose is discipline. The value ultimately delivered from your IPAM database solution depends upon the entire organization diligently adhering to approved procedures and entering your IP-related data into your database in a consistent fashion.

Our experience with an IPAM database system over the past decade has provided us with the following set of best practices:

1.    Establishing and following clear, concise, and consistent classification schemes;
2.    Incorporating full-featured search capabilities;
3.    Integrating workflow management capabilities;
4.    Including reporting tools for staff productivity and efficient project tracking;
5.    Investing in proper training and mentoring for your staff; and
6.    Adhering to your institution’s technology guidelines.

This posting will outline the first three best practices in this area.

1.    Classification Schemes

We have found that it is very beneficial to establish—and have the discipline to maintain—standard attributes for each of the technologies within your IP portfolio. These standard taxonomies for categorizing and organizing your technologies are a key prerequisite for incorporating an effective search capability within your IPAM database solution. Our experience has proven that investing time up-front to appropriately classify your technology assets is a prudent investment. Ensuring easy access to all the elements within your technology portfolio enables your team to become more efficient while positioning your technology managers for more effective decision-making by fully capitalizing on your institutional knowledge captured in your database.

2.    Comprehensive Search

Another critical feature within an IPAM database solution is a robust search engine that provides your staff with reliable result set with elements throughout your entire database, including all database fields and documents. Well-designed comprehensive search capabilities position your staff to mine information from your database and capitalize on lessons learned from your team’s earlier actions and decisions regarding similar technologies. Of course, the overall effectiveness of your search engine is directly related to the diligence and consistency of the attributes that you use to describe and categorize your technologies (i.e. IPAM best practice #1).

3.    Integrated Workflow Management

Additional benefits can be obtained by integrating at least a rudimentary level of workflow management within your IPAM database system to provide the foundation for efficient collaboration and communications across your organization. Your workflow solution should factor in how you can most efficiently manage the data and documents to support your technology transfer initiatives. Successful workflow solutions promote staff accountability, efficiency, and timely results.

In my next blog posting, I will elaborate on the next three best practices for using an IPAM database to support your IP marketing efforts. Has your organization attempted to capture and institutional best practices in managing your IPAM database?

—By Jack Spain

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