The Engine That Could: Workflow and Process Automation in IP

As part of achieving the harmonizing effect sought within an IPBM (Intellectual Property Business Management) framework, we’ve observed the market express a strong desire to move beyond mere data entry into something much more dynamic. In fact, there are few trends more deliberate, focused and clearly defined than pursuit of shedding the cumbersome business of data entry toward better leverage of the electronic data and metadata that swirl about the average business day-to-day.  Paperless processing is a crucial goal of IPBM, and IP Management in general has long many of other legal disciplines in the maturity of processes from manual, data entry to automated process and workflow management.  Workflow, or in a larger sense Business Process Management (“BPM”) is the core enterprise discipline that serves as the crucial bridge between outdated ways of working and progressive business management.
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The Innovation Community:  Capture, Nurture, Manage

One key driver in the shift toward IPBM (Intellectual Property Business Management) involves addressing the challenge of failing to protect the valuable ideas borne from the work of innovation. The management of innovation, and nurturing the participation of inventors and IP asset developers, is paramount in this movement. Increasingly, the leading IPM vendors have sought to harness this nexus and develop new tools to better engage and empower all stakeholders in the innovation lifecycle. Our comprehensive market survey found that many advanced solution vendors are either introducing new tools to drive invention disclosure, IDS and prior-art searching processes, or have significantly improved upon and matured existing capabilities. This is in part a result of an evolving understanding of user personas. In the IPBM model, attorneys, inventors and the business play important roles in the innovation lifecycle. Despite a historical focus on docketers and paralegals – the “data entry” stakeholders – vendors are beginning to understand and capitalize on the needs of the lifecycle’s upstream and downstream stakeholders in a deliberate, considered and strategic approach to integrate every phase of the asset development and management process with the business, technical, and risk management objectives of the organization.  IPBM is about “innovation in context” and the tools designed to embrace it invite users into a harmonized information management process for better outcomes and business-aligned realization.
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Accidental IPBM: The IP Applications Landscape

Today, we find the IPM market in the midst of a fundamental paradigm shift, one in which the focus of intellectual property management as an operational discipline matures from its long-understood structural grounding in prosecution towards a more holistic approach to information management that is tightly integrated with the underlying business lifecycle. As companies begin to mature their operational capabilities with the integration of business stakeholders and drivers into their performance models, there is demand for sophisticated technologies that understand and drive the IPBM (Intellectual Property Business Management) model, and provide both depth and breadth of features and capabilities. 
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Intellectual Property Business Management: A New Paradigm

The evolution of IPM has materialized like building layers: every ascending floor is built upon the foundation of lower floors. In its initial iteration, the use of IPM systems and technologies centralized on the entry of data, most of which was docketing information and information regarding the prosecution and enforcement of specific intellectual assets—most especially patents. After widespread adoption, a new phase emerged in which we sought to expose the information to and involve a wider and more diverse audience. The hallmark of this phase was the increased use of reporting and business intelligence, which gave supervisors, legal management, business leaders and other key stakeholders access to important – and timely – data on the status of assets and the performance of the portfolio. This phase of IPM’s growth also emphasized tools for collaboration among corporate teams, law firms, and other parties involved in the IPM lifecycle, for automating routine processes (a measure of both the drive to efficiency and increasing legal cost and rate pressures), and for the capture and management of innovation and assets. To illustrate this new maturity plane in IP Management, we introduce a new term of art to capture this paradigm shift: Intellectual Property Business Management (IPBM). It is no longer sufficient to manage – nee understand – IP from a purely legal perspective, or on an asset-to-asset basis. Organizations today are now keenly interested in the impact of their IP portfolio have on their business, and vice versa. Notably, IPBM is characterized by an increased demand for greater bottom-line visibility, for insight into operations and performance, and for demonstrable improvements in practice management. In essence, the broadening scope of integrated stakeholders and alignment of interdepartmental interests demonstrates a shift in IPM from a prosecution-based lifecycle to a business-integrated lifecycle. Through the lens of IPBM, the role and effect of people, process, organization and technology within the IP operation are all essential, and data entry and access are frequently commoditized.  The overarching driver and objective of IPBM is the support of core business operations, revenue generation and corporate value with a robust data-driven decision-making program.
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Successful Automation – Sometimes It’s Best to Start Simple

Embarking on a process automation initiative, whether a first foray, retiring an older technology or upgrading existing workflow capabilities, can sometimes be overwhelming for the sheer flexibility and power presented by today’s Business Process Management suites.   These suites are specifically built to manage all manner of process flows from the very simple to the very complex, including data transformations and user interactions that can wholly change the way a firm operates.
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Challenges in Developing a BPM Solution Approach

Business process management, or BPM, is a well-established practice and solution category in the general enterprise technology market.  The human-centric capabilities of BPM—as opposed to back-end, technical process and integration automation—are of particular interest to law firms as they seek ways to improve their work efficiency, resource utilization and client satisfaction.   The emergence and maturity of matter management-oriented solutions in the BPM market has brought a wealth of options to law firms.
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The Year for Operational Effectiveness

Whether in our business or personal lives, and in spite of end-of-year “quarterbacking,” the turn of the year presents a welcoming blank slate that allows us to focus on the fresh opportunities of the 12 months ahead. Planning for the new year is both a time for reflection and planning, focusing on setting our own priorities, as well as those of our businesses. Which operational objectives will you focus on in the new year to help drive success?
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Legal Practice and Legal Delivery: An Important Distinction

Lawyers parse words and define terms. So why do they so often use “legal practice” and “legal delivery” interchangeably when the terms have such different meanings and implications? This distinction is especially important in the context of the tectonic shift occurring in the legal vertical. The practice of law is very different than the delivery of law. This is more than a semantic distinction.
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What are the Right Metrics for Law Firm Success?

It is often said that “life imitates baseball” and who is to say that it doesn’t?  Baseball has always been a game of statistics, metrics designed to gauge different aspects of performance. They may not tell the entire story, but they do provide empirical evidence to fuel bar room debates about who is better.
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When Will The Legal Vertical Be Disrupted?

So many industries other than law have experienced disruption in recent years that, paradoxically, disruption has become almost commonplace.
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