The Google-Motorola acquisition, Nortel auction and most recently the Yahoo-Facebook patent squabble have all grabbed mainstream media coverage and sparked debate on the possibility of an 'IP Bubble'. Comparisons are starting to crop up to the dot.com bubble of the late 90's, raising speculation whether patent portfolios and companies whose stock relies heavily on intangible assets are really worth all the hype. Evaluating a patent portfolio's market value is an extremely difficult task, one that doesn't involve a simple algorithm or software process but rather a lot of research, human analysis and a thorough knowledge of the IP portfolio in question.
Along with a deep knowledge of an organization's IP portfolio is who within the organization knows what is in that portfolio. Increasing the visibility of a company's IP portfolio to the forefront of the organization's management and decision makers is a key move in more strategic IP management. All too often this information is held by patent mangers, paralegals, general counsel and scattered across multiple external law firms, but rarely is it known in a concise and meaningful way to the business decision makers such as CFOs and CEOs. It's crucial to know the ROI of your company's patent spend, and how the patents relate back to a revenue stream whether it be through licensing, product sales, or security against future infringement. CFO.com recently published a great article on the topic: Welcome to the IP Bubble, which delves more into specific recommendations and is well worth the read.
We also recently published a white paper on how to improve the visibility of your IP management which you can download here: WIPO's Recommendations for SMEs - A Three Part Series on How to Organize, Visualize and Strategize your IP Mangement, Part II: Visualize.