Your business relies on intellectual property far more than you think. Every business has a reason – usually to make profit from a product or service they sell. More often than not, it is a type of valuable knowledge. Of course, your business and the way you service your customers is also precious knowledge. Have you ever thought of how much you would stand to lose, if your closest competitor were to find out this valuable knowledge, not just how you manufacture your products, but how you run your business, how you service customers or even your client lists? All these things give you an advantage in the industry, and is vital to your success.
Today, many companies rely on their knowledge-based assets and thus brings intellectual property management into great importance. A “weightless economy” is perhaps a good term to describe and economy that relies on knowledge, rather than tangible assets. Take for example, tech giant Google, who allots 40% of their engineer’s time to develop their own project and many great products have come from this. Such companies recognize that innovation is good for them. And in such companies, identifying the assets that spring from this, knowing its value and how to best commercialize and profit from it is (i.e. intellectual property management) is a necessary part of doing business. Creating something new, whether it is an invention, an artistic work, a design etc., and protecting it is more than just filing the necessary papers. It is important to have a better understanding of the created IP, how much it is worth and how to protect it is important.
There is another function of intellectual property management. Many companies don’t realize that there not many “new” inventions anymore. Not to say that there can’t be any new ideas anymore, but simply that it’s hard to create a product without relying on other previously created work. For example, if you were trying to create a new product, but needed a certain process, you may find that someone else has patented this process. So, aside from letting the company know what has been done before (and can’t be protected with a patent), the intellectual property management team should be able to tell you how to legally obtain a license for other works, to help you in your own business processes.
Intellectual property management in itself is valuable for any company, both for strategic and financial reasons. It is important not to under estimate its value to your company, and thus it should be practiced correctly and thoroughly.