The role of patents has changed; Increase of their significance has led to the revision of patent policy. Companies have begun to build patent portfolios and to use patents for various tasks. Firstly, using patent portfolio, enterprises find new markets and drive competitors out of them. Secondly, companies cooperate by exchanging patents for licences. By all that, enterprises get the access to their competitors’ practices, without losing own know-how. Consequently, patents promote further advancement of technology.
Patent strategy is an integral part of company’s global strategy, aimed at penetrating new markers and ousting competitors from them; it is a general long-term business plan and a way of achieving goals. Patent strategy defines principles of intellectual property protection and answers following questions: what requires protection? In which countries? When property protections need to be claimed? Who are the rightholder and originals?
A patent portfolio (or an intellectual property portfolio) means all items of intellectual property, belonging to a company, that could be used for the improvement of company’s performance. The patent portfolio is built as a result of actions, focused on market penetration, gaining competitive advantages, acquiring new technologies. The patent portfolio may include:
· Items of industrial property (inventions, useful models, production prototypes);
· Items of identification (trademarks, logotypes, appellations of origin);
· Items of copyright (computer products, databases, topographies of integral circuits);
· Know-how (that means information, access to which is legally denied for third parties, because it is of potential commercial value; this information may subject to trade secret security policy).