Chair of Technology and Innovation Management

IP Fridays Podcast with Prof. Dr. Holger Ernst  

Prof. Dr. Holger Ernst took part in the latest IP Fridays Podcast episode

In the latest IP Fridays Podcast, Prof. Dr. Holger Ernst, chaired professor of technology and innovation management at WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management and co-founder of PatentSight, spoke about trends in innovation and IP management. Prof. Ernst elaborated on how IP management fundamentally changed over the last ten years: In the past, companies focused on filing patents as a reactive, mainly inventor-driven approach with hardly any alignment to the overall corporate strategy. Today, companies see IP management as a critical management function to maximize the strategic and financial value of multiple intangible assets, with clear accountability, top management exposure and a focus on patent quality instead of quantity.  

“We know from our own empirical research that the number of patents a company owns is not correlated with any relevant financial or strategic performance measure […] what really matters is how you manage your entire portfolio of intellectual property”, stressed Prof. Ernst.  

Patents are indispensable for protecting valuable innovations, which consumers are willing to pay for. Related to the question of how to assess the value of patents, Prof. Ernst presented the Patent Asset Index as an objective measurement of patent quality that he developed in the course of his research. Today, the Patent Asset Index is broadly used across multiple industries as a valuation, analytics, benchmarking and reporting tool. The European Commission used the patent Asset Index to assess innovation and competitive positions in two recent and high-profile approval decisions for big mergers in the chemical industry.  

Lastly, Prof. Ernst highlighted the importance of integrated IP strategies for the success of innovative products and services: “The functional protection through patents ultimately expires, but then the brand will take over and ideally the brand will have indefinite life […] This has to be built through an integrated approach through patents, branding, marketing, advertising, and new product development.” He added that “Modern IP management today is not restricted to activities within the IP patent department alone, but has a much broader exposure and impact on other parts of the organization.” 

For listening to the podcast and receiving further information, please click here.