Patents, trademarks, utility models and design models as industrial intellectual property protection serve primarily to protect the results achieved through investments in research and development from simply being copied. Patents and other intellectual property rights also play an increasingly important role as intangible corporate assets. Patents and patent portfolios are incorporated in the valuation of companies, they are traded and are also used as a bargaining tool or as collateral for acquiring credit.
For successful patent management, the adoption of individually tailored strategies for intellectual property rights and patent applications can be of critical importance. Different priorities can apply depending on the nature of the invention, the industry type and the size of the company. In order to work cost effectively, the patent management department should, in addition to the evaluation of inventions and technologies, perform an ongoing valuation of the intellectual property portfolio. This valuation is concerned both with the monetary value as well as a qualitative evaluation of the intellectual property rights in question.
Typical questions that arise during the valuation of a patent are, for example, which market is targeted, what is the value of that market, are there arguments that affect the validity of the patent or the marketability of the affected products in a particular market and how difficult or easy will it be to find workarounds for the patented technology.
Patent departments in larger companies are increasingly becoming recognised as potential profit centres and patent marketing is becoming an integral part of patent management; accurate and reliable monetary evaluation of the individual intellectual properties is therefore essential. Information and indicators for the quality and the value of individual IP rights can first be assessed by using quantitative evaluation methods without performing a time-consuming and costly “manual” analysis of the individual rights.
Bibliographic data, such as the technology field, the name of the inventor, the citation frequency, among many others, are useful in this context. Of course, it must also be determined whether a corresponding patent is valid. If other companies use the patented invention, it is often very easy for the patent-holder lucratively to sell the intellectual property or to license it for a profit. For this reason, a market analysis is essential for effective patent commercialisation.
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