We talk often at Rightly about bringing people together and truly that is the best way in which progress happens. The challenges of working in isolated silos without shared tools are immense. When that work centres on something as fundamentally important as the intellectual property rights that underpin the entire value of your business, it is not only frustrating but can serve as a huge impediment to actively taking control of your brand portfolio.
Getting on the same page, even with standard tools that limit your interaction and collaboration, is possible. Here are some tips to get the ball rolling:
Schedule IP management activities ahead of time:
Many projects in the legal world can take longer than is often assumed. Sourcing documents, drafting paperwork, preparing instructions, sending emails back and forth and actioning the necessary steps is a labour-intensive and time-consuming process.
Modern brand management tools can make a significant dent in the time and cost involved. If, however, your system relies heavily on spreadsheets, archive document storage and email threads and attachments, then some advance planning can go a long way to alleviating the frustrating roadblocks which seem to appear whenever you need something done quickly.
Proactively plan to minimise ‘last-minute’ issues:
If you have ever sent an email to request a document that you need to attach to something today only to receive an automated, out-of-office response and felt your heart sink, you are not alone. Or contacted your international representative to find that they have left for a month-long vacation when there is a last-minute renewal deadline closing in.
Depending on your portfolio and IP workload, taking some time to synchronise your calendar with IP deadlines so you can get out ahead of any last-minute roadblocks, can help you avoid the last-minute availability issues.
Communicate early, communicate often:
While it takes time, effort and planning and involves a certain amount of cost, frequent and open lines of communication with all stakeholders are your best friend. In the absence of collaborative task management tools, keeping all shared documents updated, your lawyer informed about any upcoming tasks, your certificates and other key documents to hand and staying in touch regularly can do a lot to help avoid ‘portfolio overwhelm’!
Remember who manages your IP:
No matter what systems you use to manage your, or your client's portfolio, the key consideration is always to ask yourself is: “What tools, what systems, what processes and what planning will give me the most control of my intellectual property and peace of mind that nothing is getting missed?”
Ultimately, intellectual property serves to empower your business to keep innovating, producing and profiting. Empower yourself to control those assets.