A company’s innovations and other intellectual property assets are keys to success, so protecting innovations can be crucial for businesses of all types across all industries. Developing a strong IP portfolio enables a business to not only create new long-term revenue streams and return value to stakeholders, but also protect and improve market position. Good IP portfolio management requires a holistic approach with ongoing evaluation to identify opportunities and threats. A basic offensive strategy protects a businesses’ core technology and drives profits. Meanwhile, a defensive-minded strategy looks to capture unclaimed territory surrounding core technology by patenting incremental improvements, which builds value, blocks alternative designs, ensures freedom to operate, and shields against attacks by competitors. The offensive and defensive IP strategies are not mutually exclusive — ideally, many assets within the IP portfolio can be used both offensively and defensively.
The offensive IP portfolio
Defensive IP portfolio
While the offensive IP portfolio can drive additional revenue sources, the defensive IP portfolio can protects a company’s future development path for continued growth and expansion. Often a business will explore ideas and solutions that — for one reason or another — are not incorporated into its products. Securing protection for these alternative solutions can be worthwhile, leaving competitors with fewer and less desirable design-around options.