IP Statistics on the Executive Board
Survey on reporting practices within the IP world
The value of non-tangible assets is becoming more and more recognized outside the IP department. With entering the companies’ boardrooms, intellectual property has turned into a management matter. But still, only few C-level managers have the time and insight into the IP world or a profound training in the management of intellectual property. Therefore, they require a so-called “detailed overview” of what is hot and what is not. They are interested in what is worth paying further attention to and what possibilities are there to turn “non-core” IP into cash. And, as time is money, the quicker they get an overview the better.
C-level management requires a base of information to rely on when making these kinds of decisions. Therefore, it is one duty of IP managers to regularly report to the executive management, either directly or via other departments, depending on the organizational structure and the importance of intellectual property to the company’s business.
Dr. Patrick Sullivan, one of the leading conceptual thinkers in the field, and Rupert Mayer, Chief Internationalization Officer at Unycom, have together conducted a survey on common reporting practices within the field of IP, answering questions like: what kind of information is reported, in which form and to whom is this information forwarded to.
For this survey the IP managers of ten representative companies were interviewed over a period of eight weeks. Their answers were compiled and analyzed regarding different aspects on IP reporting.
The interviews showed that the reports, which are created by the IP managers, are mostly individual for each company, and often for each specific audience. The IP manager often does not only report to the management but also to other business units within the company or even the entire company.
Regarding type and format of the reports, three main types have emerged: simple metrics, complex and narratives. According to the results of the survey, these three types fulfill quite different purposes and are aimed at different audiences. The frequency of their use is determined by the company’s attitude towards IP. The results of the survey were also matched with the Edison Value Hierarchy and, as one may expect, a correlation between the sophistication level of the company and the proportion of narratives in the reports could be detected.
The article originally appeared in issue 49 of Intellectual Asset Management magazine, published by Globe White Page Ltd, London, UK (www.iam-magazine.com). To read the full article, please download the PDF file.