General Counsel, business lawyers, and corporate paralegals serve a vital role in corporate compliance. The growth and importance of Intellectual Property registrations together with the increasing diversity of corporate structures challenges even the most organized corporate legal team. IP management is a set of procedures and tools that allow general counsel and corporate legal teams to be more effective.Objectives every law practice needs to accomplish include transparency over intellectual properties, effectively managing deadlines and costs, and developing new revenue streams.Visibility, insight and operational control enable capitalization of opportunities and maximization of the effectiveness of handling IP rights. To elevate the practice it is necessary to think beyond simple docketing and implement a modern IP practice to manage your firm’s IP. This should integrate workflow, collaboration, docketing data visualization, and market analytics to deliver new levels of productivity and insight to make your firm smarter and more competitive.
Five steps to effectively manage complexity and risk
Centralize all IP data and documents on a single corporate registry
The corporate registry must show all IP rights of the group’s entities in a single view regardless of the type of IP or jurisdiction of incorporation. The registry should show the IP name, the countries involved, the classification, next renewal date, IP type, and registration information etc…
Track details for each IP
IP Management includes staying precisely informed of timelines, renewal dates and related costs of each IP. The monitoring and accounting of all IP’s whether they are brands, trademarks, designs, license-in / license-out or patents should be as familiar a concept as the annual ‘stock take’. Opportunities to maximize profits relating to IP should be a standard ‘due care’ obligation of every company’s management.
Manage officers and directors
Every employee should be aware of the strategic importance of IP and have this encapsulated in their employment contract and be aware and involved in preparing and maintaining IP reporting and audits. It is necessary to assign tasks to colleagues in the business and in the legal group.
Store corporate documents together with IP asset details
It is also beneficial to keep Articles of Incorporation, Bylaws, and other organizational documents at hand. Since legal entities are an important part of risk and IP value management we need to track many other documents like Directors and Officers (D&O) insurance policies, Errors and Omissions (E&O) policies, regulatory filings, licenses and permits in our IP Management processes.
Adapt to changing corporate structures and laws
Laws, regulations, requirements and filings requirements proliferate and continually change usually without relief from currently existing obligations. It is critical that the legal team respond to these changes quickly. In conclusion
General Counsel, business lawyers, and corporate paralegals can make a tremendously positive impact on the broader organization with effective Intellectual Property Management. However, to make an impact requires an expansive view of what it means to manage IP and to communicate proactively with colleagues and all concerned external / third party entities.