By Annya Dushine, Sam Wiley ‑ September 30, 2019
For years, intellectual property operations were viewed—if unofficially—as a support function, a back-office task driven by administrative minutiae.
Today, though, with an ever-heightened focus on innovation and intellectual property, the role of IP operations has evolved into a valued discipline, one that drives profits and plays a pivotal role in a company’s overall success. It’s only natural, then, that organizations have also developed expectations of their IP operations professionals and teams, including the ability to appropriately benchmark their performance and outcomes. Until recently, however, IP organizations lacked a tool by which they could gauge their own effectiveness and maturity.
Recognizing this need, a group of IP operations leaders—including CPA Global and other experts from the IP ecosystem—came together over the past year with a purpose: To identify the most crucial best practices and functions for IP operations teams, and, subsequently develop a tool by which they could measure their own success at implementing and adhering to them. The result? An IP proficiencies model (where you will also find a collection of IP matrices), coupled with an IP maturity scorecard.
Users who complete the scorecard receive one of four possible scores: developing, foundational, advanced, or mature. With their score in hand, IP organizations can better gauge their strengths and, above all, where they can improve. Such an assessment should start with an honest, comprehensive assessment of their current state in six proficiencies, which include:
But first, it’s important to understand what each score actually means—and how to move forward to the next stage.
Developing: Organizations with this score are missing even the most basic infrastructure—things you’d expect to see in any legal operations department. They may not have the right teams in place, the right software, or any documented best practices. Or, conversely, perhaps they have great teams or great tools in place, but they don’t completely understand how to utilize them to the best advantage.
Foundational: At this level, your organization is functioning, but has plenty of room for development. You know what changes you need to make, you’ve taken—and are continuing to take—some steps, but you’re not as efficient as you could be. The reasons may vary: perhaps you’re not properly and efficiently leveraging outsourcing, or perhaps you’ve not yet purchased and implemented the appropriate technology or tools.
Advanced: You’re almost there—just a little further to go. You’ve already adopted many of the best practices and technologies, but still have an opportunity to improve in certain areas. While you may not necessarily be pushing the envelope on innovation, you’re wise to the latest trends and innovations.
Mature: IP teams that have reached this stage are generally using the best-in-class, most up-to-date technology and best practices. They’re most likely implementing the latest innovations, they’re continuously improving, and they have comprehensive strategies in place for change management. Chances are, they don’t necessarily need to invest in massive overhauls of their existing technology stacks or services. Instead, their focus should include optimizing the tools and methods they already have in place. Above all, even if you’re at the mature stage, don’t get too comfortable: Continuous improvement is critical to maintaining your status.
Don’t Do It Alone
Of course, the most critical step is the first one: Determining where you stand. Start by completing the IP maturity scorecard on behalf of your own organization.
Of course, learning your score is great, but it’s not enough on its own. What you do with it is equally critical—and complicated. Raising your score (and improving your IP organization as a whole) takes significant investments of time and resources, not to mention objective expertise. Don’t try to do it alone.
This is an opportunity to bring in third-party experts who can impartially assess your organization and provide meaningful recommendations that can help you ascend to the next level and generate the outcomes your ideas deserve. CPA Global’s complementary IP diagnostic service, for instance, focuses on helping you better understand your current state, your goals, and how to align your IP operations to achieve them. Such a service could prove particularly beneficial to organizations who’ve completed the IP maturity scorecard and are hoping to improve their score and ascend to the next level.
Reach the next level of IP operations success. Learn more about CPA Global’s complementary IP diagnostic service.