IP strategy – key to thriving in a post-covid world

Posted on Wednesday 15 July 2020 by Akshay Thaman | Intellectual Property Analyst

As non-essential business begins to reopen after months of non-trading, and those on furlough start to return to work, many companies across the UK are pressing the ‘resume’ button in an environment with greater volatility than ever before. This will pose challenges on an unprecedented scale; therefore, companies will be doing all they can to ensure that there is enough cash available to weather the storm that is to come.

From R&D to Patent Box

A key factor in surviving a post-covid world will be a company’s ability to differentiate itself from its competitors and, in turn, maintaining their USP. For some companies, R&D will be an important part of that, not just for the innovative products and processes that are developed as a result, but for the amount of money saved through incentives provided by the UK Government, e.g. via the R&D tax scheme. In addition, the resulting products and processes need to be protected and commercialised so that they cannot be used by their competitors and to allow the company to recoup its R&D investment.

That is why protecting your intellectual property (IP) is important, as it gives the owner the right to stop others from enjoying the fruits of your labour and it provides the freedom to operate within the scope of the protected technology, awarding the owner a monopoly for a limited period of time to profit through product sales or patent licencing and to enjoy a lower rate of corporation tax through the UK’s Patent Box scheme.

For more information on what the Patent Box scheme is, if you are eligible and how to obtain a patent, please see our knowledge hub posts: ‘What is Patent Box’ and ‘How to patent an idea in the UK’.

Differentiate from the competition

For companies that develop IP on a regular basis, it is vital that an IP strategy is put into place to ensure that their IP is protected and commercialised in the right way. Analysing patent data is a crucial part of any IP strategy. Innovation landscapes can be constructed using worldwide patent data to uncover the R&D effort exerted into a certain field of technology at a given point in time. Patent landscapes are often used by companies to better understand ‘what is going on’ within a technology area by analysing what others are patenting.

In addition, patent landscapes can be used as a way to benchmark a company against its competitors by gaining insight into the various R&D strategies that may have been deployed by others operating in the same field, and in identifying where the areas of differentiation may lie and where the overlap(s) might be. This insight will be crucial in shaping a company’s R&D strategy which, in turn, should mirror a company’s IP strategy.

How GovGrant can construct a patent landscape

As an example of the insights patent data can give, GovGrant’s IP Analyst recently constructed a short patent landscape illustrating the patent activity within the field of antivirals in the UK, in light of the current covid crisis, to explore whether R&D behaviour within the industry was reactive or proactive.

The learnings provided by a patent landscape can help shape a company’s IP strategy for a particular R&D department and ultimately identify whether there is a gap in the market for future innovation.

In summary

Companies should look to identify, protect, and commercialise their IP when the opportunity arises. That includes putting in place an IP strategy that mirrors the business strategy, regularly reviewing the IP landscape within the technology areas of interest to the business, determining what IP rights are available to obtain maximum protection and to commercialise your IP through product sales, patent licensing and utilising tax incentives such as Patent Box.

To find out more about the ways you can commercialise your innovation contact us.

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About Akshay Thaman | Intellectual Property Analyst

Akshay Thaman | Intellectual Property AnalystAkshay works closely with GovGrant’s clients to uncover IP that may be hidden within their businesses. As a Member of the British Patent Information Professionals group (BPIP) he brings academic rigour and commercial experience to his role as IP Analyst. View profile