Taking a Second Look at Patents for Revenue

Managing intellectual property effectively can increase revenue by 50 percent over three years, according to a study to be released Friday

If traditional revenue sources arent yielding hoped-for results in the slowing economy, some enterprises may be surprised to find new profit opportunities in existing patents. Managing intellectual property effectively can increase related revenue by 50 percent over three years time, according to a study to be released Friday by Gartner Inc.

Management systems based on intellectual property asset management systems (IPAMS) software can help enterprises disseminate patent data to a wide array of employees, allowing them to collaborate in the earliest phases of product development. Over the past year, enterprises have demonstrated increasing interest in these tools, which will likely be widely adopted among the pharmaceutical, aerospace, technology and biomedical industries over the next four years, according to Gartner, a research and consulting company in Stamford, Conn.

IPAMS helps enterprises keep up with technological advances – particularly among competitors – and changes in domestic and foreign patent law. It can also put intellectual property data to better use in planning mergers and acquisitions.

"The old approach to industry was: Innovate or die. I would suggest that the new approach is: Innovate, protect and leverage," said Kevin Rivette, chairman and CEO of Aurigin Systems Inc., a provider of intellectual property management software and services in Cupertino, Calif. "Companies are aggressively pursuing new ways of looking at their assets. What is going to stop your competitors?"

Several historical factors together have created a climate conducive to leveraging patents for new revenue sources, Rivette said. Favorable legal precedents in the United States combined with international efforts to uphold patent laws give intellectual property greater value, he said. Additionally, a host of Internet-related patents currently held by failing or failed dot-coms are ripe for leverage by other companies, he said.

Aurigin builds a software platform that includes collaboration, data mining and analysis tools integrated with patent-related content. It is available in both a client-server and a hosted model. Before the end of the year, the company plans to launch a hybrid version, which will allow an enterprise to maintain its targeted data, search results and reports behind its firewall while Aurigin maintains the database indexes on its network. The hybrid is targeted at enterprises with qualms about the hosted service but dont want to maintain the full system in-house.

"The hybrid version takes the burden off the IT department," Rivette said. "The cost of ownership goes to almost nothing."

Gartner recommends that enterprises test IPAMS software among a wide variety of employees, including accountants, business strategists, competitive intelligence specialists, content managers, financial analysts, fraud mangers, IP researchers, journalists, lawyers, librarians, marketers, risk managers, security managers, scientists and underwriters.