While a clearly defined purpose is critical to the success of an IP program, a strategy regarding costs is equally critical. Different goals will dictate differing levels of commitment and expenditure. An IP program must therefore also contemplate the identification and disposal of unneeded or unproductive IP assets. Disposal does not mean abandoning IP assets. The process should instead involve, as much as possible, the sale or divestiture of unneeded IP assets.
As with the planning and forecasting addressed in our previous article, a company should also assess industry or market trends with regard to the need to maintain IP protection. Factors to consider include the longevity of the protected product and any projected income stream. IP assets related to products or operations which no longer economically justify such protections, or which are no longer operational significant from a market perspective, are good candidates for disposal.