This article by Ian Cockburn lists five reasons why businesses should identify, understand, account for and manage their intellectual property, the so-called “intangible assets” that often hide real and unexploited value. You might be surprised by some of these reasons. Let’s take a closer look:
1. Satisfying mandatory Accounting and Reporting “due care” obligations.
Company directors will – I hope – be well aware of their obligations to the company and its operations. Many, however, may not have considered that Intellectual Assets should be listed and reported in the same way as tangible assets.
2. Realising the ability to leverage-off assets, which are owned, and not being used.
Business is all about making a return on assets, Intellectual Assets as much as any other. IAs need to be recognised, assessed, protected and leveraged. This can mean use, licencsing, sale or enforcement.
3. Better understanding the market and market value of IP.
Although it is intangible, Intellectual Property – brands, trade marks, inventions, patents, copyright material, trade secrets, industrial designs – can in fact be some of the most valuable property of a company, provided it is recognised, protected and exploited.
4. Reducing unauthorized use of IP by competitors and copiers and avoiding unauthorised use of other people’s IP.
Recognising the IP you have is the first step; to successfully exploit it protection and proper use is also needed, just as for tangible assets. Avoiding infringing the rights of others is a key ingredient.
5. Providing the basis for a company culture based on innovation, brand presence and design.
Education of the business team to recognise the character, value and importance of IP will help with exploitation, and encourage an atmosphere where innovation is valued and encouraged.
Annette Freeman 15 August 2013
This blog post originally appeared on the Freeman IP blog and is reproduced with permission from Annette Freeman.