Welcome to this week’s PLM TBT blog, written by our featured guest blogger, Paul Peck, and originally published in 2012. I think you'll agree the IP ownership concerns he raises are still very relevant today.
When using PLM (Product Lifecycle Management) systems as repositories for design documentation, you are doing a form of document control and publishing that could expose your company's most valuable intellectual property if not managed carefully. Before I share my thoughts about how to control your IP in a PLM environment, allow me to share some historical perspective of the protection and violation of IP ownership over the centuries.When the pyramids were built 5 thousand years ago, the slaves had their tongues cut out so they couldn't share the secrets of the pyramid's configuration and the location of the secret compartments of riches contained therein.
Hollywood wouldn't exist if motion picture makers were not trying to avoid royalties (or worse: injunctive relief) lawsuits filed by a certain Mr. Thomas Edison. The Californians figured that 4 time zones and 3 thousand miles insulated them from the slings and arrows of Edison's New Jersey lawyers.
We showed that this new genre of Product Lifecycle Management software facilitated the kind of collaboration and supported design re-spins to the extent that we would crank out "big iron" telecom equipment designs in unbelievably short intervals. Alcatel's case was dismissed (on summary judgment), and Monterey/Cisco kept after them on the counterclaim "tortious interference through abuse of the courts". Cisco/Monterey won the legal clash of titans. At the victory dinner, our lawyers gave us bumper stickers that read, "Texas is Bigger than France". There's more to the story, as you might imagine. And Cisco carried forth with a project code-named HFR (Huge F****** Router).
Agile PLM was clearly becoming a competitive weapon. With Agile PLM, we could quickly evaluate the latest technology, generate prototypes faster, reduce the number of design re-spins, collaborate easily, and effectively become the "techno/social network" for some of the industry's best telecommunications experts. We could get product to market so fast that our competitor's heads would spin. And with Agile PLM, we could keep our intellectual property locked up tighter than a drum.