October 12, 2017
British entrepreneur James Dyson has revealed that he is not content with revolutionizing the worlds of indoor electric tech with new innovative products, the company has been working on an electric car since 2015 with an eye on a prospective 2020 launch. Given the background of their products, one can expect this to be nothing like existing electric cars, although Dyson is keeping quiet about what the final car will look like. The only details disclosed in the interview are that the electric motor is ready to go into a prototype, and that they are still developing two different battery types.
Why it Matters
Electric cars have brought various players from other realms into the automotive arena, such as Elon Musk, Google, Apple, and now Dyson. But entering a new market can cause IP complications, as companies will move into a new sector where it is unlikely that they have filed anything older. Indeed, a quick search on Dyson’s patents reveals that they have filed very little with IPC codes starting B60, which features heavily in categories which are essential for electric vehicles as we know them. To protect their cars’ innovations, Dyson will either have to get filing rapidly or purchase some relevant assets from an established portfolio holder in the area.
IP has many possible metrics to cover what is filed, such as filings per year, inventor counts, cost to maintain, some measure of usefulness such as products linked to it, perhaps licensing revenue, citations, the list goes on. For a company’s internal uses, Machine Design has published a guide covering top 5 IP metrics they see companies using in order to cover 4 key categories: IP Revenue & Profit Contribution; IP Portfolio & Asset Value; IP Strength & Quality; and IP Organization & Productivity
Why it Matters
This guide shows just how complex managing a portfolio and justifying your IP can be to other teams in a company. Most of the metrics used by IP owners have to do with licensing revenues generated and numbers filed. Some companies hold patents to use in counter-assertion against a particular competitor or to successfully excluding others from a market but not licensing them, which wouldn’t be covered by any of the above and shows just how complex the IP game can be.