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Does Your BPO Own Your Bots’ IP?

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You have a great relationship with your outsourcer. You’ve worked with them for over 10 years. So when it comes to figuring out the technicalities around who owns the IP of the bank of bots that sit in their delivery center, albeit processing your tasks based on your Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), it may seem natural to think that they own the IP.

It doesn’t have to be this way. Here are some things to consider:

  • We are all still finding our way with RPA. 
    Although adoption is happening quickly, it is a ‘nascent’ market, and we are still writing the rules as we go. This means precedents haven’t really been set. If your BPO says ‘this is the way things are done’, push back. 
  • You may have a great relationship with your BPO, and if so, you may think this isn’t a big deal. 
    But it could be. Anything could happen. The relationship could go sour, your company could be bought, and the acquiring company may use a different BPO. In order to safeguard your future processing, it’s better to make sure you own the designs.
  • OR…you may not have a good relationship with your BPO, and you may be wary about the future of that relationship. 
    By allowing your BPO to own your robots’ IP, you are giving them bargaining chips for future negotiations. BPOs with RPA IP ownership are in stronger positions than those without, and this puts you in a weaker position.
  • Remember – this may seem like a small concern today, as you may just be utilizing 15 bots, but as the months and years go by, by 2020 your 15 will easily become 150 or 1500 bots. That’s a lot of IP. 

The likes of the Hackett Group and Deloitte are working with clients who are having these conversations right now. If you need guidance, turn to them, or post a question in socialspace, and see what our other members have to say.

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