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In-House IP Management: Crucial Even if you Outsource Prosecution

The August issue of Havard Business Review takes an excellent look at corporate legal strategy, and what should be outsourced versus managed in house in their piece "Points of Law: Unbundling Corporate Legal Services to Unlock Value". In it, they confirmed one of the core beliefs that drives IPfolio's software innovation: that it's crucial for intellectual property strategy to be properly managed and easily accessible in-house, no matter what the size of your organization is.

Many small and mid-sized companies have a small (if any) legal department, and it is very common for IP prosecution - the filing of patent applications, renewals, and other IP-related legal tasks - to be outsourced to external counsel who have the time and expertise to properly handle such matters. HBR looks at the example of how Cisco's GC Mark Chandler evaluates what to outsource using a matrix of four factors: high/low risk, and whether or not the item is tied to competitive advantage. The filing of patents falls into the category of "Low Risk, Tied to Competitve Advantage" segment of legal activities that is recommended can be managed via outsourcing or self-service tools. What is placed in the quadrant of highest importance however, is the management of intellectual property strategy.

In order to make smart business decisions and align one's IP strategy with the rest of the organization's objectives, the counsel, IP managers, and/or other decision makers in the company need to know exactly what is in their portfolio, what steps have been taken historically, and how they are positioned for the future. Given the heavy financial investment that patenting and other forms of intellectual asset management demands, this type of information should not be kept at arm's length, but should be readily accessible and highly visible within an organization, regardless of its size.

IPfolio has been designed specifically to help companies manage their IP portfolio in-house, with intuitively organized forms and pages, visual, easy to use reporting dashboards, as well as collaboration with external parties such as law firms. We based our ideas and design on our own industry research and feedback from peers and customers, but it's certainly nice to read that Harvard Business Review confirms our approach!

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