The compelling corporate need for a Chief Intellectual Property Officer

Marshal Phelps and John Cronin (of IBM fame) compiled three lessons (in Forbes) for the “C” suite in Google’s $12.5B acquisition of Motorola Mobility, and they outline a clear and compelling need for organizations to appoint and support a CIPO.

  1. Make sure IP strategy complements business strategy. What does the business need to grow, and when does it need it? Think IP Strategy preaches the proper alignment of business and IP strategies as a constant theme.  “Given the nature of IP to be treated as distinct from the rest of the business, and even from the rest of business law, misalignment of IP strategy with business strategy is common.” Without an IP manager with access to the “C” suite, business strategy leaders may forge ahead with business plans not respecting IP’s role. 
  2. Acquire (internally or externally) the IP needed to grow and succeed. This step cannot be completed without in synch business and IP strategies pointing the way.
  3. Inventory, audit and triage the current IP portfolio. Which ones have the most potential (value) to demand an allocation of resources, and which ones should be left to die?
H. Ward Classen, Deputy General Counsel of Computer Sciences Corporation, argues the general counsel’s office should play a significant part in establishing a company’s IP program, in effect promoting the inherent value of intangibles to the organization. Whoever the CIPO is, the argument is the same. To ensure growth in a knowledge economy, someone must represent and fight for the integrity of an organization’s intellectual property, while ensuring IP strategy and corporate business strategy are compatible, in synch, and capitalizing on the most valuable growth drivers available.