In recent years the protection of Intellectual Property (IP) has become a primary concern for companies and businesses around the globe. While the Internet has allowed us to communicate and exchange information faster and easier than ever before, it also created a perfect environment for the theft, piracy, illegal reproduction of valuable IP. Many companies have been left scrambling to protect their business’s most valuable assets from those on the Internet, open-source supporters and people looking to make a quick a buck off of other’s hard work.
“Intellectual property remains a fundamental pillar to achieving overall success,” wrote IP Watchdog’s Michael Gulliford. “To raise investment, protect markets and enable the outflow of innovation to adjacent industries, a strong patent operation is an absolute necessity.”
The global IP industry is estimated to be valued at around five trillion dollars and is a key component to the GDP of industrialized countries. Experts believe that as the tech sector continues to thrive, the value of intellectual property will continue to grow.
“IP has only recently received recognition from the governments of developed economies,” wrote marketing specialist, Sion Platts-Kilburn. “Gone are the days when intellectual property was seen merely as a pie-in-the-sky folly for would-be entrepreneurs. Instead, there is now substantive value in registering patents.”
Increasingly, business owners and company executives are hiring IP lawyers and entire legal teams to ensure their company’s IP is full protected. Because IP is comprised of a variety of components such as patents, copyrights, trade names, trademarks, trade secrets, formulas, franchises and Internet domain names, it is important to ensure your enterprises proprietary information is protected. As an intangible asset, IP trade names and trademarks may not even appear on the company’s balance sheet, despite being the company’s most valuable asset.
IP lawyers can be especially helpful when it comes to the buying and selling of businesses and companies. “IP lawyers can assist during the purchase with an investigation of the IP assets to make sure that the buyer does not overpay,” says IP attorney Andrew Grove. “An IP attorney with patent skills can help determine whether patents have value by studying what they cover, and whether they can withstand validity challenges.”
While intellectual property lawyers can guide businesses in protecting their intellectual property and guide M&As when it comes to patent worth, IP lawyers have less experience in aiding in the monetization of existing, newly developed or recently acquired intellectual property. This is where external IP management institutions and services come into play.
Companies like Ottawa based, Wi-LAN, manage the intellectual property of inventors and innovators to ensure they receive adequate compensation for their investment in the research and development of the product or technology. Wi-LAN and similar companies enable patent owners the ability to sell or license patented intellectual property. This business model provides a monetary incentive for inventors to invest in the development of new technologies, which in turn spurs innovation.
IP management companies like Wi-LAN can also help commercialize intellectual property in other markets, sectors and countries. “The financial value of IP is no longer confined to jurisdiction havens. If managed correctly with the aid of qualified professionals, transferring IP out of the United States can be tax efficient,” Platts-Kilburn wrote.
Some businesses have moved right out of production and manufacturing and instead solely focus on patent and IP licensing to bring in their company’s revenues. In other words, it’s not only important that intellectual property is protected, businesses also need to realize the importance of potentially monetizing intellectual property and the opportunity to turn it into a lucrative investment.