MINA-NEWS #18 - February 2012

Interview: Philippe Fornies, Partner, Avenium Consulting

“We need to look at metrics other than the sheer number of patents”

IPT Alliance, a consortium made up of Avenium Consulting, Patev, and ICM Advisor, is rolling out a Europe-wide research program to establish new “patent indicators” for large companies. Can you tell us what this means?
Companies often assess their patent policy by looking at the number of patents held or at licensing revenues. These quantitative metrics are necessary, of course, but they don’t give the whole picture. Likewise, some companies set quantitative patent targets without first having looked at the contribution their patents make to their company’s value. A more comprehensive set of indicators will help us move beyond the “numbers game.”

Do you have an idea of what the indicators will look like?
We have a plan for tackling the issue. First, we will categorize a company’s patents and assess protection by product category (innovative products or products nearing the end of their life cycle), and then we will assess the protection of its flagship products.
We will adjust the indicators to account for a company’s industry, competitive landscape, and strategy. The goal will be to measure the contribution a company’s patents make in terms of business value (market penetration, profitability, and other factors), and to identify possible areas for improvement.

Could research institutes also benefit from a new set of patent indicators?
Obviously, a business thinks in terms of strategy and profits and adopts a short to medium-term outlook. A research institute is different. A decade can go by between the time a patent is filed and the first licensing revenues start to come in. However, a set of indicators for certain patents that are closer to hitting the market would be useful. But the methodology and criteria would have to be different from those used for companies.

Contact: philippe.fornies@avenium-consulting.com

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