Before constructing an IP solution, it is important to understand what a customer wants and needs from its intellectual property management. In the first of two blogs from Phil Arvanitis, IP Solution Consultant at CPA Global, we look at the importance of helping customers identify requirements before developing a custom, tailored solution to their problem.

Tell us a little more about your role at CPA Global and background
I used to work in biology – occupying a number of research and analyst roles -  but moved into the intellectual property industry in 2012. I was interested in the tangible application of technology to products, business strategy and the different methods of protecting R&D investment.

My role at CPA Global is to help a customer diagnose their most critical needs by mapping the challenges they face alongside objectives they have for the future. We then collaborate to design a bespoke solution with our software and service teams to fulfil their particular goals and solve the challenges they are facing.

How do you first identify what a customer’s needs and challenges are?
Working closely with our account managers that hold the relationships with corporate clients, we hold open discussions about a customer’s current strategy and the challenges they are experiencing. This is not only in regards to their IP department but their business as a whole – will it be expanding into Asia, partnering with universities or acquiring promising technologies in a new market? All of these aspects could affect IP strategy. Once we have an initial understanding, we set up IP Diagnostics with clients that are interested in taking this further.

Can you describe the IP diagnostic assessment process?
Each project is split into three key phases, the first of which is project planning. We begin by speaking to decision makers to understand the specific, current challenges and goals of the company, and design an appropriate on-site workshop.

The next phase is investigation. We meet people specific to the client’s topic of interest – investigating similar people, processes, technology and data. This helps us better understand the different persona needs within an organisation.  

Finally, we analyse our findings, delivering a report that highlights our suggested areas for improvement and how a company can better meet its specific goals. We use a roadmap and phased approach to advise companies of the changes that will form the best solution for them.

Should we introduce a solutions project, we will speak regularly with account managers and visit companies to discuss the next phase. We often check-in with customers to ensure our bespoke solution is continuing to deliver.

How do you build trusted relationships with customers? What are the benefits of doing so?Our teams are all very experienced in the IP industry and can really dive into the details of the IP processes we are reviewing.  We speak with a variety of people and roles within a clients’ company and have a broad view of how to resolve various issues, having seen many ways these have been  tackled across the industry.

We are also willing to suggest general areas of improvement so a client can improve processes themselves, without any further assistance from us. Any recommendation we make will remain valid irrespective of whether a company chooses our solution or works with another service provider.

What customer IP issues do you regularly encounter?
Managing large IP portfolios is increasingly complex and companies are constantly looking to achieve more, but this is difficult if you only have a small team of people. Customers want to make this easier through the introduction of streamlined processes, the harmonisation of global IP operations post M&A and by outsourcing the administrative burden of data processes and systems.

Have you seen the role of technology increase? Why do you think this is?
Every year new products are being launched in the IP industry, reducing the time spent on repetitive and time consuming administrative tasks. Due to these advances in software and data technology, there is the potential to further transform and reduce IP costs, reprioritise time and increase IP quality in the industry.

What changes do you expect to see in the future of IP management?
IP management services will greatly benefit from integrated solutions that connect and bring together every persona. Innovators will benefit from improved IP metrics that allow companies to better understand their idea lifecycle, from idea conception in R&D all the way through to licensing, pruning and IP renewals. This will prompt the awakening of more traditional industries - such as automotive and mechanical sectors - to competitive intelligence and open innovation potential from IP data. With improved understanding around IP technology, our customers have the ability to make faster, more informed decisions.

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