This paper investigates the potential use of information systems (IS) for enhancing the supply chains of organisations positioned in the intellectual property (IP) sector. Exploratory research has been conducted through the lens of a patent and trade mark agent who is involved in advising on a range of IP issues. The research highlights the opportunities offered by IS (including online technologies) for generally improving the provision of business services e.g. automating supply chain processes. More specifically, though, it investigates the potential IS have for integrating information flows and providing timely, in-depth and better presented information and the options for online filing. It also explores the capabilities for improving interactions with clients and enhancing relationships with key stakeholders in the supply chain e.g. government agencies, overseas patent agents and lawyers. The paper additionally outlines key challenges that are at the forefront and need to be addressed when using IS within the IP sector such as identity management, security and authentication. The key findings of the research will be of value to researchers and practitioners in the IP field but many of the issues and challenges faced will also be applicable to other sectors.
Keywords: information systems, intellectual property, supply chain, information flows, relationships; e-business; e-government