12 Essential Features of IP Management Software

Pro Tip: Patent analytics is one of the essential features of IP management software to fetch actionable intelligence!

It is no secret that to stay on top of the game, every organization needs to tap into the full potential of its innovators. Innovation management requires a systematic business process to track ideas through patents, which some term as ‘patent mining’. However, your patent mining process might be broken because of things like: 

  • Complex Invention Disclosure Forms (IDFs)
  • Ineffective collaboration among members from different departments like – engineering, business, legal, etc.
  • No set process to track ideas progress through complete IP workflow – Capturing, Vetting, Patent Drafting, Patent Filing, and Patent Portfolio Managing
  • Security risks like confidential data being leaked
  • Stale PAIR data due to dependency on a human resource to pull out the information

To make your patent mining process robust you need to provide the right training and resources to your team. As they say, well begun is half done. Identifying the right IP management software shall be instrumental to your patent mining process. Here are 12 essential features of IP management software:

  1. Intuitive idea submission form
  2. Customizable idea capture form
  3. Effective collaboration to refine the ideas
  4. Ease of thorough vetting
  5. Role-based access
  6. End-to-end tracking from ideas to patents and beyond
  7. Automatic updates – in sync with USPTO
  8. Cost estimation
  9. Tags to ease filtering
  10. Case analytics
  11. Detailed examiner analytics
  12. Dashboards for a holistic view

#1. Intuitive Idea Submission Form

Also known as the Invention Disclosure Form (IDF), an ideal idea submission form is simple, intuitive, and engaging. The IDF captures the necessary details about the invention. It requires the innovator to describe the problem, solution, and enhanced features over existing solutions. A great IDF is the one that inventors don’t feel any friction to fill.

#2. Customizable Idea Capture Form

A good IP management software allows customization of the Invention Disclosure Form (IDF) as per the needs of your organization. The software might be providing a form that has necessary fields that are commonly used by various organizations. However, there could be certain fields, one might wish to add to that existing form. An idea capture form that can be personalized as per an organisation’s internal requirements is something you should look for.  It should be possible to incorporate the company’s internal nomenclature so that no training is required for staff.

For example, The TIP idea form offers a summary field to share details about the invention. However, you might wish to have the invention details divided into sections like – 1. Problem 2. Solution and 3. Advantages. Each expected to be captured by different form fields. The software should provide an option to customize the form as per your needs.

#3. Effective Collaboration to Refine the Ideas

Imagine editing functionality just like “Google docs” – Two or more people can simultaneously edit the same document. Changes made by each person can be tracked. Version history can be maintained.  Having similar functionality in an IP management software can be extremely helpful. Example: When an inventor, an attorney and an associate are discussing an idea, each one can edit the same piece of text within the software with their thoughts and inputs. None of them need to take notes manually and edit the idea text later.

#4. Ease of Thorough Vetting

The software must provide a way for collaborators to exchange ideas over an idea or a patent draft for that matter. Ability to add comments can go a long way to facilitate this.

#5. Role-Based Access

If your organization wants to keep certain strategic patent portfolio data confidential, a key feature to look for in the IP management software is role-based access. The software will allow only that part of the information to be visible to the person accessing the software, which is required as per his/her role. The confidential information will be visible only to the key personnel.  For instance, an organization may require that an inventor should be able to see only the patent portfolios that he is a part of, not the whole company’s.

#6. End-to-End Tracking from Ideas to Patents and Beyond

A process-driven IP management software will take your organization a long way. It should ideally facilitate the tracking of the idea from its inception till patenting and beyond. For an IP workflow ideas & patents need to be tracked through the following stages:

  • Capturing of idea
  • Evaluation and vetting of the idea/invention
  • Drafting of patent application
  • Filing of the patent application
  • Managing the patent portfolio

A quick view into the patent portfolio as shown below shall be an added benefit. Taking this to the next level shall be an in-depth view of each case (See #10. Case Analytics).

Triangle IP is going to release an upgraded version soon with all the features mentioned here. Click on the image below to get exclusive access!

#7. Automatic Updates – In Sync with USPTO

Wouldn’t it be easier if the IP management software also provided the updates regarding the status of your applications from the USPTO PAIR? An intellectual property management software can have integrated tools to provide automatic updates to help track the progress of the application. It will also help in notifying about any PTO rejections received. This feature will allow you to have everything in one place instead of tracking various activities throughout the innovation process.

#8. Cost Estimation

Knowing the cost of patenting an invention and the average allowance rate in the domain can ease out your patenting decisions. Patent analytics help in predicting the cost that helps managers and business owners manage the budget accordingly. Look for an intellectual property management software that offers this functionality.

#9. Tags to Ease Filtering

Tagging the ideas/patents with keywords helps to filter out the ideas/patents around a particular technology or product or business function etc. An IP management software must be able to pull this information out for you with the click of a button.

#10. Case Analytics

Say you filed a patent application with the help of a law firm. In your intellectual property  management software dashboard, you see that the application is still pending with 4 office actions after 3 years of prosecution. You would be curious to see the general ‘health’ of your application. To know how other applications have fared in that domain. Also, what would be good to know is the performance of the law firm handling your patent application. If you see that other applications, on average, had one office action and were granted in 2 years; you would be in a better position to discuss and strategize with the patent attorney. This shall help you to find a way to speed up the prosecution. Hence, while looking for an intellectual property management software check if it provides law firm analytics as well.

#11. Detailed Examiner Analytics

Knowing more about the USPTO examiner handling your application helps you understand how you should be handling the prosecution. It helps your patent attorney take the best approach with respect to the assigned examiner. When your IP management software can provide examiner analytics, it will give you pointers to strategize patent prosecution. For instance, examiner analytics can help you understand if prioritizing the examiner  interview can fasten the prosecution process.

#12. Dashboards for a Holistic View

A key feature to look for in an IP management software is dashboards. Dashboards provide a holistic view of your idea pipeline, the filed USPTO applications as well as patents. These dashboards can help you get a pulse of the quality of the ideas submitted, probable roadblocks and your inventor activity. These help you take decisions/make changes accordingly.

Wrap Up – Essential Features of IP Management Software:

A patent mining process is broken in the absence of software that streamlines the journey of ideas to patents. An IP management software allows your organization to capture, evaluate, and further them for patenting and beyond. Hope that this list of essential features of IP management software shall be helpful to you in making an informed decision. Triangle IP is coming up with a version soon – that covers all these features and more! Register here to get early access to all these features for free for a limited time! Stay updated with the latest features of the Triangle IP tool and its subsequent releases. Sign up for the newsletter!

Note: The preceding is general business advice and not to be construed as legal advice. IP laws vary by country and retaining licensed legal counsel is advised to confirm this information. Any expressed or implied opinions are of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Triangle IP or any other entity who might be associated with the presenter. We hope this content is helpful to you, but should not be relied upon without confirming the advice and accuracy with local legal counsel. Any comments or inquiries are not confidential so please discuss your issues directly with counsel.