Wednesday 18 June 2014

Benchmarking of employee inventor awards and incentives:a survey is launched

Great invention-- but what does he receive
in addition to his basic salary ...?
According to a media release that it has just been published, "ipPerformance Group Initiates Inventor Rewards and Recognitions Study", a concerted attempt is being made to benchmark employee inventor benefits in the United States -- a jurisdiction that has no statutory schemes relating to the allocation of patent rights as between inventor and employer and no statutory guidelines relating to how much, in terms of money and non-financial benefits, an employee inventor might be entitled to receive. The media release reads as follows, in relevant part:
"ipPerformance ... announces a study on Inventor Rewards and Recognitions Program Best Practices. ipPerformance Group is conducting this study to better understand new trends and best practices in inventor reward and recognition programs. It will cover a range of topics, including financial and non-financial awards, program management and communications, award effectiveness, key objectives and performance metrics.

Information for the study will be gathered via an online survey, which is open to corporate organizations [it would be great if a parallel survey could be opened to employee inventors, as a reality check -- but this would be a very different type of survey, requiring a very different methodology, even if its findings did open up new opportunities to market one's consultancy skills in this field]. The final report will examine the following areas: which program elements have the greatest impact in increasing innovation ideas and patents; methods of managing and rewarding inventors in locations with inventor remuneration laws; and the drivers, impediments, benefits and trends in inventor rewards and recognition programs. The survey ... takes about 25 minutes to complete. Says Robert Williamson, president of ipPerformance Group:
"... We know from previous ipPerformance Group benchmark studies, and from our own extensive experience with implementing effective inventor reward programs, that global inventor reward programs are evolving [given that some countries in which US corporations operate and do R&D have compulsory statutory schemes, it would be good to know what "global" means in this contect]. The major reasons for incentivizing inventors are to maintain inventor interest, increase volume of invention disclosures, and gain better cooperation and responsiveness to patent questions. The aim of this study is to gain insights on which rewards are working well for businesses, where there is room for improvement, methods for handling inventor remunerations in countries that have inventor remuneration laws and what practices are the most effective in improving the impact of incentive programs."
The study investigates the types of recognition and actual financial amounts being used for invention disclosure, initial patent filings, patent grants, design patents, trade secrets, publications, provisional patent applications and licensed-in technology".
The results of this study should be of interest not only to business employing inventors, but to other businesses that might be contemplating a merger or acquisition and which need to get a clear handle on the target company's assets and liabilities, whether because inventor pay-outs might be a deal-breaker or because they need to know how much to borrow to complete the transaction.

To participate in the study, click here. The study closes on 15 July 2014.

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