Thursday, March 11, 2010

Top 5 Mistakes to Avoid When Selecting Intellectual Property (IP) Management Software

The investment made in Intellectual Property (IP) management software can work wonders in helping IP departments gain visibility, lower administrative costs, improve accuracy, and increase productivity. Unfortunately, a significant percentage of Intellectual Property management systems purchased are never fully implemented or don't deliver the utility the customer hoped for.

Here are the five most common mistakes made when selecting Intellectual Property management software:

Mistake #5: Not Knowing What You Really Need in IP Management Software

Before diving right into choosing a solution, take the time to understand what you really need. For starters, determine whether you require a fully integrated Intellectual Property Asset Management software, Patent Docketing software,or IP Matter Management software.

Often, this depends on the issues you are trying to solve or the opportunities you are trying to capture, as well as the size and structure of your department. For example, if you don't file many patent applications or trademarks, you should first get that data organized in a centralized repository. Your core team should be able to access and generate reports from them.

If your IP portfolio is getting large enough for you to manage, and you think that providing access to inventor community and law firms can reduce administrative costs, you should look at a robust Intellectual Property management system. This type of system will allow you to streamline your processes and improve productivity at a lower cost and with fewer resources.

Before diving into the selection process, ask "What are our top five needs?" If these key needs are not identified, it may be difficult to distinguish between vendors. Many vendors claim to do many things. The vendor's strengths must match the company's key needs.

Mistake #4: Not Recognizing the Uniqueness of Your Business

Every IP department is unique. Without configuration capabilities within the software, you are more susceptible to failure during software implementation.

While initial license and maintenance fees can sometimes appear lower, these hard coded solutions will often result in increased costs due to extensive customization requirements, upgrades, ongoing maintenance, and longer system deployment timeframes. Essentially, you may end up reducing and delaying your overall return on investment.

Avoid choosing a software that limits your team's capabilities and your department's growth. Your software should enhance your business, not hinder it.

By choosing an Intellectual Property management software solution that can adapt to your business processes, you will get better user acceptance, improved efficiencies, reduced costs, and faster ROI.

Mistake #3: Not including Key Users in the Selection Process

Surprisingly, many IP department still select computer systems without soliciting meaningful input from key users. At the beginning of your selection project, form a selection team with representatives from all affected teams such as patents, trademarks, docketing, licensing, compliance and billing. The active participation of key stakeholders will not only help ensure all bases are covered, it will also result in a better decision and fewer complaints after implementation.

If possible, you should also include a representative from your IT department. The IT Liaison can help you in identifying any issues related to deployment, data migration, integration and security.

Mistake #2: Evaluating Too Many Vendors:

Avoid vendors that offer a deal that is "too good to be true". You may find yourself missing the essential tools you need to conduct your business after implementation. Many of these bargain systems also provide very rigid solutions, making it difficult for you to meet the unique needs of your inventors, patent committees, and law firms. Also, You may need to reinvest additional money toward upgrading, or in some cases replacing, your system later-thereby reducing or eliminating all together any savings that you might have originally experienced.

Choose no more than four vendors at the start of your search. If more than four are chosen, it often becomes difficult to remember who does what. If none of the first vendors will meet 80 percent of the key needs, dismiss these and begin investigating several more.

Mistake # 1: Not Investing in Intellectual Property Management Software for the Long-Term

When choosing Intellectual Property management software, be realistic about your expectations and perceptions of cost. You're making an investment to improve or enhance your processes. So, while hard dollars spent are important, the key is choosing the right Intellectual Property management software. Choose the right partner who will provide you with a fast and effective implementation, high ROI (Return On Investment), and low TCO (Total Cost of Ownership) after implementation.

Use your intuition and good business judgment when comparing provider costs. Look for applications that support your ability to achieve your department's long term primary strategic goals and work within your budget. Hasty decisions in favor of the lowest cost IP management software provider or solution now may leave you plagued later with hidden costs, and delay or eliminate any ROI for your business.

Several progressive legal departments have realized better and more predicable processes, improved productivity, and better control over law firms with Lecorpio's IP management software. Lecorpio IP Asset management solution includes invention disclosure management, patent management (including docketing), trademark management, domain management, open source management, licensing management, contract management, standards management, IP transactions management, and spend management.

Learn more about Lecorpio's IP Asset Management solution or IP Management Software-related products and more.

Jerry Lamigo

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