R&D based companies engaged in unpredictable technology and subject to intense competition tend to file patent applications regularly as part of their business strategy. While each of these patent applications incurs costs for prosecution and maintenance, they also divide over time into assets of very different utility. As the project and the patent portfolio develop over time you will need an updated mapping of the utility of the patents (which strategic effects do they support, the likelihood of success etc).
Add to this the need for cost-effective deployment of patent resources, you will need a system supporting the periodical decision whether to pursue the patent family in a slim version, a broad and more expensive version or abandoning the patent family altogether. Abandonment of patents as soon as they are found to exceed a threshold of the cost benefit ratio involves a risk but also provides the power and resources for new patent activities.
Such mapping (project/technology vs patent) and decisions to continue, expand or abandon the patent families constitute patent management activities involving the Patent Department, R&D, Marketing & Sales and even other corporate functions.
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