AI Issue 4 2017

38 Acquisition International - April 2017 LifeTech IP // Spies & Behrndt Patent Attorneys recently received the European Business Award 2016 In the category ‘IP Law Firm 2016 – Germany’. In the following interview, one of the founders, Ruediger Spies, shares his views about new opportunities through digitisation and the management of IP as an enterprise asset in times of intensive innovation activities and changing business models. umerous reports show that many IP departments are managed as cost centres, or eventually as protection centres. Only a small minority of companies manage their IP portfolios as profit or asset centre, that is as a business of its own embedded into an enterprise strategy. This is not only true for large enterprises, but also for many small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). On the other hand, society is on the edge of moving into the knowledge economy Ruediger is convinced. He adds that humans not only generate increasing value from know-how, services and insights instead of simply producing products, but also from machines. This is mainly driven by computers and software, but also by active systems such as robots. These contribute to increased economic value Ruediger tells us, before explaining this point in more detail. “In other words, the world has reached an inflection point. Some of the press headlines used are: Digitalisation, Internet of Things, Industry 4.0, Digital Twins, Cloud Computing, 1:1 Individual Drugs, Digital Farming and so on. Business decisions are increasingly based on technologies such as business intelligence, predictive analysis and ‘big data’ applied to data lakes. I believe that a critical mass of these technologies has now been reached and cannot be ignored any longer. “On the other hand, we also have the slow-moving constituents as part of the development of industry and society. One of them is the legal system, which has had difficulties adapting to today’s fast-moving Company: LifeTech IP // Spies & Behrndt Patent Attorneys Name: Ruediger Spies Email: Web: Address: Elsenheimerstr. 47a Munich D-80687, Germany Phone: +49 89 2351 3561 0 Mobile: +49 171 821 80 62 Unique – Patent Attorney and Industry Analyst N 1704AI35 technology advancements such as self-driving cars. In this context, the important question is how companies should address the required protection of IP. Unfortunately, most enterprises have what is termed as ‘relative distance’ between product development, product management, product marketing, sales and business strategies on one hand, but on the other hand. IP departments are not really changing at the required pace. “Often, IP department members only speak with the technologists if absolutely required; such as for a new disclosure based on which an idea should be protected or, if there is a case of IP infringement. Thus, typically only operational contacts occur between the IP departments and the remaining parts of the enterprise. IP strategies are only in selected cases, completely interwoven into the enterprise business strategy.” Looking over the fence, IT departments know quite well how to apply an IT architecture development process Ruediger says. He then suggests – in short – to mirror that process for a development of an ‘IP architecture’, that is to start this with the annual report, continue with IP value architecture and then go on with the development of an IP process architecture. Doing this, implements an IP technology architecture and allows an active IP portfolio management, instead of saying, ‘oh, we file every good idea’. So, what is needed? Enterprises should adopt a strategy and value based IP process Ruediger underlines. It should reflect and support the general business strategy, instead of being an afterthought to the product development process. Ruediger then expands on this point. “For this, it is required to understand the industry trends and developments not only from a legal perspective, but also from a broader technology perspective – not only for one vertical industry but across industries, business models and requirement changes in society. “In order to organise our client-oriented services efficiently, we have adapted a Silicon Valley type of approach in order to eliminate organisational friction.”