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sense Business Process Management (“BPM”) is the core enterprise discipline that serves as the crucial bridge between outdated ways of working and progressive business management.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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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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SNEAK PEEK: WHERE ARE GC's INVESTING?

Hyperion Research is preparing to release our MarketViewTM Report: Enterprise Legal Management for Corporations, updated for 2017.  Incorporating over 500 hours of industry benchmarking, primary interviews, client references and vendor briefings, the report provides an invaluable resource for understanding the leading trends in legal operations.  Our coverage focuses on the solution needs of corporate legal departments of all sizes that are seeking integrated solutions that include modern capabilities in spend management, collaboration, workflow and advanced analytics. 
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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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Law, Technology and the Social Network

Shopping for legal technology is often a matter of relying on the experience of others The market for legal technologies is ever-active—and ever-expanding. Recent market data is very clear on the strong drive for investment in Cloud-based technology, workflow and automation tools, analytics and collaboration platforms. As the technologies grow ever more sophisticated to match the businesses they support, and the number of options and approaches multiply, it is more critical than ever – and the risks more pronounced than ever – that legal organizations assess their needs diligently and strive to select new and upgrade technology as thoughtfully —and with as much information—as possible.
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The Curious Case of Virtual Patent Marking

Virtual patent marking was introduced in the United States with the passing of the America Invents Act of 2011 with the great promise of reduced costs and more accurate patent marking.  The purpose of marking an article is to provide constructive notice to the public that the article is patented. Failure to appropriately mark an article can preclude the recovery of damages for infringement until effective notice is given.
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The Importance of Innovation in Legal Technology

The business-aligned model of Enterprise Legal Management requires a sophisticated IT infrastructure. It also requires an improved attitude about the integration of technology into the day-to-day operations of the corporate legal function.  Traditionally, law departments have been reticent to adopt technologies into their daily operations. However, as those operational demands increase and a generational legal-management changeover occurs, we see attitudes and expectations about the role of technology shifting.
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