When managed effectively, intellectual property can be a critical growth driver for your organization, impacting branding, product development, revenue opportunities, processes, and more. However, intellectual property can sometimes be overlooked by resource-strapped organizations. In this article, we’ll go back to the basics and present a set of tips for managing intellectual property for business success.
"Apple's DNA is innovation, and the protection of our trade secrets is crucial to our success."
-- Apple Computer, Inc.
Intellectual property is the capital of ideas. It is everything within a company that’s left over after cash and tangible assets. These days, that can add up to most of any given company. It is “intellectual” because it is value that’s created from the neck up. It is “property” because it can be legally protected, bought, sold, traded, donated, collateralized or otherwise controlled.
Managing your organization’s intellectual property portfolio is just as important as managing your business. In fact it's a big piece in almost any organization's value puzzle. Anyone managing a business understands the importance of maximizing the return on investments in employees, equipment, products and services, but many organizations overlook or shortchange the IP.
It’s well known that the effective management of intellectual property can add a great deal of value to companies in various fields. Although many tend to think of patents and other forms of IP in strictly legal terms, they can themselves be valuable business assets which create both economic and social value for a business and its consumers. But that value is often attractive to malevolent actors who would rather reap the benefits of that value without properly licensing the IP, whether that involves the misuse of a brand logo or a novel technology. A 2013 report on the costs of IP theft pegged the annual amount of American economic value lost due to IP theft at $300 billion.
These are interesting times for developments and investments in emerging tech sectors. Ford invested $1 billion in Argo AI, and Fiat Chrysler teamed up with BMW and Intel in the race for the driverless car market. Facebook filed for a patent to make augmented reality glasses, putting it in competition with Microsoft’s Hololens and Snapchat’s Spectacles. The limits of cloud computing are beginning to emerge while the uses for 3D printing continue to grow each day to fabricate items like clothing or home construction materials. Genomics firms are suing each other over patents covering the sale of DNA analysis machines. In the Bay Area, The Mercury News reports that California is the leader in green tech but that the strong economy is putting more emissions in the air due to commuters – creating yet more challenges and opportunities.
Intellectual property (IP) rights are valuable assets for any business and play a key role in setting you apart from your competition. It is imperative for organizations to capture, review and act on innovative ideas rapidly, and nearly impossible to do it manually. An increasing number of organizations are using intellectual property management software to manage their IP assets more effectively.
Businesses often don’t have trouble managing their intellectual property (IP) budgets when first starting out. With a small IP portfolio, the costs of obtaining and maintaining protection are easy to track. As those businesses scale, however, there are more assets to keep track of, and more bills to pay. Let’s take a look at this challenge, the risks associated with letting your budget get out of hand, and some keys to management that can help you maintain control.
Innovation has been a constant - and increasingly faster exercise - for visionary businesses, especially now that technology evolves at such a breakneck pace. Innovation means an opportunity to differentiate and be that much more competitive in your industry. It’s not enough to have one revolutionary idea one time, however; companies need to keep up the momentum. That’s why having at least one innovation expert on staff is crucial.
Intellectual property is the capital of ideas. It is everything left over after cash and tangible assets, which these days is most of any given company. It is “intellectual” because it is value that’s created from the neck up. It is “property” because it can be legally protected, bought, sold, traded, donated, collateralized or otherwise controlled.