For the third consecutive year, LAVOIX conducted the IP Barometer survey, a major study on Intellectual Property (IP) practices within businesses in France. This year, 123 IP professionals answered the questionnaire, available online at the beginning of the year.
In addition to the aspects studied each year, the goal of the 2014 edition was to study strategic aspects, in particular the manner in which IP strategies are aligned with general corporate strategies.
Some of the lessons learned from the 2014 edition are set out below:
The perception of IP as a strategic challenge confirms its progression in 2013. However, when respondents are asked whether executives devote sufficient time and focus to IP rights, the answers are mitigated. This does not necessarily mean that IP Directors/Managers occupy a very senior position in the organisation chart. Awareness issues also form part of the challenge of the IP role (although this is even truer for business line managers than for decision-makers).
The respondents dedicate relatively little time to strategy, but would like to do more in this area. Performance evaluation criteria for the IP role are also more operational than strategic. Respondents are for the most part rather well informed of the major strategic orientations of their organisation, but less aware of the marketing aspects of the strategy and the environment in which their organisation operates. Less than half of the respondents formalised their entity's IP plan, and less than a quarter went through a strategic planning process for that purpose.
In line with the results of prior studies, the managers queried recognise the existence of a wide spectrum of potential objectives justifying the registration of IP rights, with an order of importance that is however quite apparent.
- The patent is registered for both offensive and defensive purposes. On one hand, businesses use patents to protect their goods from imitations, in other words, with a few to preserving an operational monopoly. On the other hand, they register patents to improve technical standards and limit the registration of patents by competitors as well as risks of infringement litigation.
- Trade marks are seen firstly as a means to promote the company's image. It is also interesting to note that the characterisation of the company's products and the fight against imitations obtain higher scores than the trade mark’s "marketing" goals, with the exception of the reinforcement of the product’s positioning.
- Finally, when the question is asked in relation to all IP rights, preservation of the freedom of exploitation receives the highest score. The possibility of differentiating a company's products is the second most important role according to the survey respondents. "Erecting barriers to market access" or even "keeping competitors away from the market" also scored high marks. The consolidation of negotiating power inherent in a portfolio of IP rights is also cited as an important factor.
A more precise study of factors that influence IP strategies shows that there is no statistically significant correlation between a given IP right and the size of the entity. Nor does there appear to be any major difference in the reasons behind the registration of patents according to the type of technology, other than the fact that industries that use complex technologies (interdependent technology systems) give more importance to the impact of the possession of patents on their positioning in R&D partnerships. They also seem to give slightly more importance to anything that allows for the preservation of their freedom of exploitation (ways to avoid being blocked, cross-license agreements), and slightly less to protection from imitations, both for patents and for IP rights as a whole.
In terms of the trade mark's roles, the scores are generally higher for sectors with a strong B2C component as compared to B2B, which is logical in light of the importance of the trade mark in consumer relations. Only the impact on the product's positioning and the support lent to globalisation strategies seem somewhat more important for B2B than for B2C.
Download the 2014 IP Barometer results here (French version only).
For more information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
What is the IP Barometer?
Intellectual Property (IP) has become a true strategic asset for businesses. Therefore, the role of IP managers and the challenges they face are changing significantly, in particular in terms of IP management and interaction with other departments in the company but also in terms of direct reporting lines.
To help IP managers optimise their activity, LAVOIX decided to create this IP Barometer in 2012. Its objectives are:
- To provide IP managers with information and tools to improve the IP management,
- To promote IP among corporate players and optimise relations with both internal stakeholders (senior management) and external stakeholders.
IP Barometer methodology:
The IP Barometer questionnaire was available online at www.barometredelapi.com from 15 January to 5 March 2014, and sent by email to more than 800 IP Managers in France and to the 4,000 members of the French association of corporate lawyers (Association Française des Juristes d'Entreprise).
The questionnaire was self-administered online according to the CAWI method (Computer-Assisted Web Interviewing). All of the respondents were IP managers in private and public entities at the time of the survey. The answers are strictly anonymous.
LAVOIX is the leading firm fully dedicated to Intellectual Property (IP) in France. With close to 200 IP professionals, including 80 attorneys-at-law, IP attorneys, technology specialists and lawyers, LAVOIX covers all types of IP law (patents, trade marks, designs, copyrights and domain names) across all economic and technical sectors.
Association Française des Juristes d’Entreprise: The AFJE's membership includes 4,000 corporate lawyers from 1,300 businesses. It is the leading professional association of corporate lawyers in France, with a structured, active network that provides training and career management services and represents the profession vis-à-vis public authorities.
Lionel Deschaux, Marketing, Communication and Business Development Manager
Tel.: + 33 1 53 20 14 20