01 June 2010

The International IP Strategist's Association

In recent weeks, the iam magazine, which is dedicated to intellectual asset management, reported on a newly founded group of IP strategists, that aim at nothing less than helping to "transform the position of IP within the business world".

Over the last few months a group of IP strategists have held a series of meetings in London and Oxford in which plans were made and a constitution was drafted to establish the International Intellectual Property Strategist's Association (INTIPSA) around Mr Mark Thomson and some other core members mentioned in the IAM Strategy 250 directory, the new association now being ready to recruit new members that have a demonstrable expertise in IP strategy. 

It appears to be the motivation and founding mission of the new group that IP should be at the heart of strategic corporate decision making but, in too many cases, currently is not, such that an association of IP strategists, who are experienced in bridging the gap between the IP legal activities of a business and the core activities and strategic direction of a business, could make the considerable task of persuading CEO's to take intellectual property and intellectual asset management strategy more seriously.

Concretely, INTIPSA's agenda comprises:
  • Establish and integrate the role and function of IP strategy within business, education and government;
  • Promote excellence in the provision of strategic IP business advice;
  • Serve as a means for business to locate qualified IP strategists;
  • Promote best practice and act as a mechanism to share this;
  • Act as a focal point for enhancing the IP capabilities of the UK economy and UK businesses;
  • Share market knowledge and act as a network to members of INTIPSA;
  • Provide long term IP strategic perspective;
  • Provide opinion in relation to national policy.
To read more on INTIPSA and gain some insight into the new group, you may refer to the article "Strategists of the World Unite" by iam editor Joff Wild. While the group not yet has a website, a LinkedIn group has been established for promotion and information purposes.

As far as I am concerned, a group like INTIPSA is much needed and highly appreciated, since intellectual property services and strategic business consultancy usually are two entirely separated issues that are handled by two entirely separated groups of professionals in both corporations and practices, which in many cases cannot even really talk to each other on a professional level.

From a patent attorney's point of view, it is a general deficiency of both general practice and IP boutique firms that their IP practice is far too much focussed on drafting, prosecuting, litigating and licensing of isolated IP rights, while the strategic dimension of such assets is almost entirely left aside. This situation, however, lies not fully withing the liability of patent attorneys and IP lawyers, since their clients often are not prepared to allow reasonable insight into their business strategies to enable their IP consultants to consider strategic thoughts in their daily parctice.

To change this situation for the benefit of not only the large corporation but also medium-sized companies, basically two measures have to be taken. Firstly, patent attorneys and IP lawyers have to learn how strategic and business related issues can be considered in IP practice (they thus have to become a little bit more consultants and a little bit less lawyers), while the corporations have to become aware of the fact that IP is an important part of business strategy and that business-oriented IP services could be of great benefit for their competetive position.

If these two issues are really tackled by organisations like INTIPSA, this could lead to a fruitful cooperation between patent attorneys and business strategists for the benefit of both corporations and IP professionals. If one wants to get declamatory on this point, one could well proclaim this as the future of IP.

Myself I hope to learn more about this issue on the the 3rd IP Business Congress (IPBC) which will be held from 20 to 22 June 2010 in Munich, which has established itself as one of the world's leading business-related IP conferences (see this earlier posting).

UPDATE: The confirmed full programme of the IPBC '10 and the speaking faculty with just over 70 IP thought-leaders hav now been published here.