Editor’s Note: This is the first post in a two-post series examining the best practices Fuentek has captured by utilizing an IP asset management (IPAM) database to support intellectual property (IP) marketing and commercialization initiatives.
Since 2001, Fuentek has relied on an intellectual property asset management (IPAM) database to support our core marketing process. Along with a collection of other best practices
for marketing IP, this database has played a key role in our success in the commercialization of innovations across a diverse array of technology categories for universities, federal government labs, and commercial companies.
Effective IPAM database systems enable your technology transfer organization to proactively monitor and manage your marketing initiatives, helping you gain maximum value from your IP portfolio. When successfully implemented, these systems facilitate communication, collaboration, and consistent adherence to licensing processes.
IPAM database solutions vary by feature and functionality, and each has its own unique advantages and disadvantages. However, Fuentek has found that the most crucial factor in realizing maximum value from your database system is not which system you choose, but the consistency and discipline with which you use it. The more diligent your entire organization is about entering IP-related data into your database in a consistent fashion, the more value you will get from your IPAM solution.
We follow these best practices, gained from our experience with IPAM database systems over the last decade:
- Establish and follow clear, concise, and consistent classification schemes
- Incorporate full-featured search capabilities
- Integrate workflow management capabilities
- Include reporting tools for staff productivity and efficient project tracking
- Invest in proper training and mentoring for your staff
- Adhere to your institution’s technology guidelines
Let’s take a look at the first three areas. (In my next post, I’ll dive into the others.)
1. Classification Schemes
It is very beneficial to establish—and have the discipline to maintain—standard attributes for each technology in your IP portfolio, such as advanced materials, optics, or transportation. The use of standard taxonomies for categorizing your technologies is a prerequisite for incorporating an effective search capability within your IPAM database solution. Investing time up front to appropriately classify your technology assets is a prudent investment. It helps:
- Ensure easy access to all elements within your IP portfolio
- Enable your team to be more efficient
- Position your technology managers for more effective decision making by fully capitalizing on your institutional knowledge
2. Comprehensive Search
Choosing an IPAM database solution with a robust search engine will provide your staff with more reliable search results, providing elements throughout your entire database, including all database fields and documents. Well-designed comprehensive search capabilities enable your staff to mine information from your database and capitalize on lessons learned from earlier actions and decisions regarding similar technologies. Of course, the overall effectiveness of your search engine is directly related to the diligence and consistency of the attributes that you use to describe and categorize your technologies (see #1, above). Relevant searching can become even more effective if your system allows for tags or other keyword fields.
3. Integrated Workflow Management
Integrating at least a basic level of workflow management within your IPAM database system will provide a foundation for efficient collaboration and communication across your organization. Your workflow solution should factor in how you can most efficiently manage the data and documents necessary to support your technology transfer initiatives. Successful workflow solutions promote staff accountability, efficiency, and timely results.
In my next post, I’ll elaborate on the final three best practices outlined above. In the meantime, we’d love to hear about your experience with IPAM solutions. Has your organization captured additional best practices by using an IPAM database?
–By Jack Spain