intellectual property, intangible asset, patent management strategy, patent portfolio
Intellectual Property is considered to be a strategic tool for new ventures and startups. It helps in creating spin-offs, joint ventures, mergers and even sell-out. Patents are an objective measure of an organizations’ R&D activities. Together with Trade-mark, Copyright and Brand design, they constitute the intangible asset of any firm. As with other intangible assets, they are extremely critical to establishing the firm’s name in the local market, strengthening its domestic base and help in internationalization of its product and services. Patents are given more importance for their tangible nature in terms of valuation. High-tech SMEs (or HTSMEs) are incited to constitute a strong patent portfolio in order to get a greater market share. Due to stiff competition in a close-knit market niche, managing these patents becomes increasingly important. A patent management strategy is thereby formulated with the intention of handling these patent portfolios in a more systematic way. The strategy is divided into pre-acquisition and post-acquisition strategy. The former involves the development phase of a portfolio build-up; while the latter is the deployment phase, involving offensive and defensive use of the strategy. Both phases have different outlooks, specific objectives and together constitute the overall Patent management strategy. However, it must be borne in mind that there is no single strategy that can fit all SMEs. A careful study of the patent portfolio, domain area of activity, competitiveness and internationalization are some of the key factors that have to be kept in mind before formulating an effective patent management strategy for a SME.