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Metrics on programs that reward inventors with cash and other benefits

Some 221 companies responded to a survey by iPerformance Group concerning their inventor reward and recognition programs. A summary of the findings appear in IP Law & Bus., Jan. 2009 at 12. Most of the companies that recognize the efforts of inventors provided financial rewards. What fascinates me is the assertion that follows regarding cause and effect: “Companies that rewarded inventors monetarily for an invention disclosure increased their invention idea submissions by 75 percent per inventor.” Was the only programmatic difference before and after the award of money?

Some benchmarks surfaced. “The average payments per milestone reported were: invention submissions, $568; patent application filing, $973; and patent grants, $1024.” For inventions that generate substantial revenue for the company, the reward to inventors includes a percentage of profit. That’s pay for performance!

“Larger companies that actively promote their [patent encouragement] programs gained 40 percent higher returns on their R&D investments than those that didn’t, measured by patent applications per dollar of R&D expense.” If that correlation is true for many companies, they will up their IP ante (See my post of Oct. 10, 2006: Dial Corp.; Jan. 27, 2006: incentives to researchers at H-P; and July 25, 2007: Halliburton Energy.).

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