• The paintball strategy – avoid becoming a lying duck


    I often think of how we humans tend to complicate things. A few days ago a colleague of mine asked me if I could share my experience from having worked more than 25 years with strategic R&D matters, involving the if, why, when and how when it comes to patenting. Of course I replied enthusiastically! Then he said – but I need you to keep it short and understandable so that everyone else can benefit from your advice…

    The paintball 3 step approach
    If you have played paintball before, you would understand that the way to ensure survival and success is to:

    1. Firstly study the map of the location and quickly identify best positions that can reduce your vulnerability of exposure, as well as give you the best view to follow the moves and activities of your competitors.
    2. Secondly to set up a plan of action that weighs in; the weaknesses and strengths of all players including yourself, the number of players and the amount of ammunition at everybody’s disposal.
    3. Thirdly to put your plan in action, but be prepared to quickly change your plan as the strategy of the other players becomes more apparent to you or if your plan is sabotaged by the others. 
    A successful paintball player is one who continuously and quickly adapts with the changing field to avoid the risk of being exposed and become a lying duck! A successful patent strategist is no different from our successful paintball player, he or she puts a flexible strategy in place that provides a good possibility of success at the same time minimizes vulnerability of exposure to back ambush, uncontrolled cost spiral, or other financial or legal hazards.

    My 5 steps to develop a patent strategy for business success

    1. Make an all-round 360 degrees scan of the topography of the market playground to gauge the size and business potential of the different marketplaces as well as identify the major market and technology drivers.
    2. Acquire a good insight of the maturity and state of the art of the technology. You want to identify the essential areas that are key for the technical field of the business, as well as who are the strong leaders of these technologies while weighing in the position, uniqueness and impact of own technology for driving and leading development.
    3. Carefully study the business plan with long term business objectives and development strategy of the company in order to identify the roll it wants to play and be identified with; a technology leader or follower, acquire high market share or monopoly of the market for own technology.
    4. Develop a strategic plan that can achieve the business objectives. A plan that is flexible and helps you to quickly adapt to reduce the risks and utilize the opportunities as they materialize in the marketplace.
    5. Involve top management in the approval and implementation of the strategy. You want to ensure that the necessary budget is dedicated for achieving the goals of the strategy. You also want that people with the necessary competence within the organization are designated implementation responsibilities necessary for success.
    My final advice – keep the goggles on!
    To enter a market without a well-informed strategy, which too many companies do, is like shooting in the dark at a moving target, without night goggles – you don´t know the size, number, position or speed of the pray. And you certainly run the risk of exposing your position and become a lame target yourself.

    What´s your best advice?
    Please share your expertise by leaving a comment. Also feel free to share this post in your own network.

    Sign up for the 15 minutes lunch webinar
    Please register for our webinar "How to become a patent strategist" (same webinar as "Become a mythbuster”) on October 6, 2015 12:00 PM CEST at:

    Attending this webinar will give you strategic as well as hands on tips and tricks on how to become a Patent/IP-strategist. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

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