Intellectual Property is increasingly being recognised within organisations of all shapes and sizes as a highly valuable and also unique asset. As the UK moves more and more towards a service based economy and away from its traditional heavy industry and manufacturing base the need to manage your intellectual property is paramount as this may become your organisation’s primary asset in the future.
There are three main stages to ensuring the effective management of intellectual property within an organisation.
Stage 1 – Awareness
One of the biggest challenges facing many organisations is a lack of awareness and understanding about what their IP actually is. This is the base level skill in the management of IP and until everyone throughout the organisation is aware of what constitutes their unique intellectual property then it is impossible to move onto stage 2 – protection.
It is this lack of awareness of what constitutes an organisation’s IP that leads to vital information being casually given away with no thought as to its value. This is admittedly more common at the junior level within organisations but can happen at the most senior levels too.
It is vitally important for all organisations to analyse what makes up their IP and then not to stop there but to take it to the next level which is ensuring that all staff are aware of this. Once this is achieved the management of IP within the organisation can move onto stage 2.
Stage 2 – Protection
Having ensured all staff are aware of what the organisation’s intellectual property is it is then possible to concentrate on protecting this valuable asset at all costs.
The law relating to IP is in parts complex but overall is there to protect the owners of the IP. A simple training programme may be all it takes to get everyone thinking about how they can protect the intellectual property of the organisation. Alternatively the creation of a simple checklist to use upon receipt of any request for information can go a long way towards the protection of IP.
Stage 3 – Maximising the value
Once everyone is aware of what constitutes their IP and what can be done internally and / or legally to protect this you can then move onto stage 3 of the management of intellectual property.
This is the stage where opportunities can be sought out to maximize the value and return on IP rights. Take the example of a university that has done a great deal of research into a particular area that has commercial application. Should this simply be given away for free? Of course not, everything has a market value and intellectual property is no different.
Simply by brainstorming potential opportunities many organisations have come up with incredibly innovative ways to enhance the perceived value of their IP rights and ensure their own continued success.