Corbel, P., Rapport sur l’utilisation stratégique du brevet en France, research report for ASPI (Association des Spécialistes en Propriété industrielle de l’Industrie), February 2011, 70p.
This report summarises the main results of a series of studies carried out as part of a research project entitled "Observation and Analysis of Intellectual Property Strategies" (OASPI) launched in 2007 and supported in 2009-2010 by the ASPI (Association des Spécialistes en Propriété Industrielle de l'Industrie). These studies consisted of an interview campaign with intellectual property (IP) or patent managers in companies on the functions of patents and the link between patent strategy and the company's overall strategy, a questionnaire survey on the same theme and an interview campaign on the role of intellectual property in the relationship between public research and industry. In addition, a study was carried out specifically for one company on the relationship between the patent and the motivation of employees in R&D departments.
This is therefore a research that is strongly rooted in practice. From an academic point of view, the aim was to deepen our knowledge in a field which is the subject of a large number of works, but of which only a small proportion is based on practitioners' perspective. From a managerial point of view, the aim was to contribute to the construction of a trully strategic approach to the management of intellectual property and more specifically, in the first instance, of patents.
This strategic approach takes as its starting point the fact that the role of the patent cannot be limited to a simple legal tool to protect against imitation. It has many functions and can therefore be used to support different strategies.
It is these different roles which are developed in the first part of this report: roles of protection and blocking, of course, but also of preservation of its freedom of exploitation, financial roles, effects on image and reputation and, in a more original way, roles of internal management within the company (motivation, knowledge management...). We then explore how these functions can be articulated with the overall strategy of a company and with those of other IP rights.The hierarchisation of these functions partly conditions the way in which patents are managed within the company, which is the subject of our second part. In this part, we give a few points of reference (our studies only provide a partial view of this issue) on the practices implemented by companies to manage their patent portfolio, the way in which they organise it and their budgetary impact.
While the focus so far is global, it is clear that patent management varies considerably from one organisation to another. These differences are the subject of our third section. The main factors of variation detected are the size of the organisation and the sector of activity. Public research institutions, however, are special cases that have been the subject of a specific study. We try to synthesise these differences in a framework of configurations linking the general strategy of the organisation, the hierarchy of the goals of patent ownership, the actions implemented, the organisation set up and the allocation of resources.
The document can be obtained from the author.