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Competitive IP Intelligence

Company personnel should respect the valid and enforceable IP rights of its competitors but should also recognize that not all IP rights are valid or enforceable.

A company can utilize a process to monitor competitor IP protection activity to identify overreaching, and potentially invalid matters. Additionally, the identified IP can be challenged (including pro-actively) when it is determined to further business interests of the Company.

In order to maximize a company’s IP opportunities and minimize IP risks, it can be important that R&D management maintain situational awareness in the IP domain. This awareness could be maintained by:

  • Tracking the intellectual property activities of known competitors, and in particular patent activity.
  • Maintaining a strong understanding of the company’s own intellectual property position, and in particular its patent rights.
  • Working with outside patent counsel on a continuous basis to maximize the value of those rights.

To further these objectives, R&D management and company legal personnel should discuss opportunities and activities to maintain or improve situational awareness, maximize opportunities, and minimize risks. Collaboration with outside IP counsel can be sought to assist and advise.

Periodically, R&D management and/or company legal should review the results of competitive IP monitoring. The purpose of the review is to avoid clearance concerns and also to identify overreaching, and potentially invalid matters. In some cases, action can be taken to challenge the identified IP when the challenge will further business interests of the Company.