With efficient Intellectual Property (IP) management, which is integral to market dominance, every other business out there gets an advantage over its competitors. It is a matter of fact that yes – market know-how is a valuable asset, which a business must develop further to create new IP assets. It is, therefore, essential for businesses to build an efficient Intellectual Property Protection strategy for managing and safeguarding the business’ assets, which further includes the creation of an in-house IP department. The department must specialize in the protection of the IP assets by supporting innovation and development. The advantages of creating and running such a department can’t be overstated and are also not limited to only the large-scale companies. They extend well to the small businesses as well, where market know-how is shared more freely among the competitors. All in all, a specialized IP department helps significantly in protecting the business’ IP assets and providing an edge over the marketplace competitors.
Key Roles of an IP Department
While considering creating a specialized IP department, a business first needs to define what all it requires out of such a department. Without any second thoughts, an IP department specializes in handling a lot of issues, but its general role within every business focuses around:
- Identifying and managing the already existing Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs) of the business
- Advising on securing the IP Rights and their protection
- Coming up with solutions to reduce the costs, which includes filing IP applications and renewals, along with minimizing the overall management costs
- Negotiating and drafting licenses and rights transfer contracts and agreements
- Making sure that the business is making the most out of its IP assets
To be specific, an IP department must work towards ensuring that the IP assets of a business are maximally profitable, which further implies that the department, at all times, needs to be aware of the business’ competitors and the status of their IP portfolio.
The main roles required within a specialized IP department are as follows:
- Management – Managers, having proficiency in every relevant area of the IP department, shall make sure that the department runs smoothly in all aspects with adequate levels of communication. Besides, these key managerial roles also highlight the nature of professionals required for the overall functioning of an IP department. The key roles include executive director, legal counsel, operations director, tax advisor, and technical director.
- Legal Professionals – When it comes to running a successful IP department, experts in the legal protection of IP play an integral role. They are generally required to carry out risk screening for company assets and take the necessary action, including initiating legal proceedings, if required. They also assist in drafting non-disclosure agreements for stakeholders and other parties for safeguarding the IP assets like trade secrets.
- Financial Experts – People with financial and economic skills are crucial for an IP department as they can efficiently manage renewals and payments on the international level. Additionally, they also help significantly in evaluating the worth or financial importance of a specific IP asset.
- IT Staff Members – IT staff members and professionals are fundamental to making an IP department efficient. Because of the global nature of IP, digital resources are imperative, and staff members need to utilize digital software systems to enhance the department’s overall efficiency.
- Administrative Support – As with other departments out there, administrative support is essential for the successful functioning of an IP department as well. To be specific, the vast numbers of official documents, which include application forms, license agreements, contracts, notifications to third parties, and so on, require the need to have a fully comprehensive administrative support within an IP department.