A New Understanding of IP Within A Competitive Environment

by: Stratford Managers

Until now, intellectual property (IP) has been viewed in the same light as other forms of property. Indeed, if we look at the websites of bodies such as the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO), the following is offered as an answer to the question, “What is Intellectual Property?”:

“Intellectual property (IP) refers to creations of the mind: inventions, literary and artistic works, and symbols, names, images, and designs used in commerce.“

Throughout history, intellectual property has been viewed simply as the assets realized through the process of creative innovation. However the time has come, to take a broader view of intellectual property. It is time for a new understanding of intellectual property within a competitive commercial environment.

The strategies and tools used to develop, build, maintain, and realize value from “creations of the mind” owned by a company must be included in this broader view. Examples are:

  • Invention disclosure programs
  • Licensing programs
  • Acquisition programs

The strategies and tools used to discover, and defend against, the threats posed by the “creations of the mind” owned by actors external to a company must also be included in this broader view. For example:

  • Competitor patent monitoring programs
  • Defensive litigation strategies

Therefore, within a commercial environment, IP encompasses:

  1. The assets realized through the process of creative innovation, i.e. the “creations of the mind” owned by a company.
  2. The strategies and tools used to develop, build, maintain, and realize value from the “creations of the mind” owned by a company, and
  3. The strategies and tools to discover, and defend against, the threats posed by the “creations of the mind” owned by actors external to a company.

When IP is considered using this new and broader perspective, a company is able to both improve the return on its IP assets and better prepare for the challenges posed by its competitors.

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