Patenting one’s assets have proven to be very lucrative. Many non-IT companies have patented or trademarked at least one or two innovations in their day to great profit. These innovations may serve the company’s internal needs to run the business used in the day to day operations however some innovations that may have been patented, sit dormant in the company’s asset vault. There is great value to be had in many of these assets whether they sit in the company vaults or are operationally utilized every day.
For example Rob Preston, VP & Editor in Chief, Information Week’s recent article IT As Profit Maker reports:
Union Pacific, the largest railroad company in the U.S., now generates $35 million to $40 million in annual revenue by selling, leasing, and licensing various technologies it owns and/or develops. For example, it was going to buy communications radios for its locomotives from a specialty manufacturer, but the engineers who work in UP’s technology R&D lab said they could do the custom electronics for less. By developing the 8,000 radios it needed in-house and farming out their fabrication to a contract manufacturer, UP not only saved $7 million to $8 million, says CIO Lynden Tennison, but the subsequent sale of about 5,000 of those radios to a couple of competitors generated enough money to more than cover development costs.
Maximizing all of your company’s assets can be profitable but you first must identify them and understand what markets might these assets serve. Typically patent owners lack the expertise, time and financial clout required to pursue potentially significant commercialization or licensing opportunities even if believed to be lucrative by the powers above. What is there to learn from larger companies that leverage their assets for profit?
Here are a few steps to maximize your dormant assets
- Use your Company’s Intellectual Property to Improve Business: Keep a strong relationship between executives and managers with open lines of communication. A company must keep detailed records of its Intellectual Property and how that portfolio can boost the bottom line.
- Develop a Strategic Plan: Break down the company’s mission as it relates to its dormant assets and establish measurable goals. Articulate these goals from short to long-term plans that appear in the form of budgets.
- Confirm ownership of your assets: Do you currently own these assets that are critical to your core business model? Make sure the proper legal maneuvers are made to register and protect your assets.
- Determine suitable metrics while evaluating your assets: Track both your patent submissions and the revenue generated from such property. Establish targets and track those too.
While accomplishing the obvious steps to maximize your dormant assets, your property can soon serve as great revenue generators to boost your core competency and success within your field. Take these assets out your vault and make them work for you. They are not to be ignored.