Depending on your company, your biggest asset may be your intellectual property. Companies that take the time to assess the nature of their intellectual property and understand its potential impact on their business plan may find unexpected treasure troves of value.
To fully appreciate the type, quantity, and value of its various intellectual property assets, a company should conduct regular intellectual property audits. Generally, intellectual property audits have one or more of the following goals:
- Identification of existing intellectual property assets;
- Protection of identified assets;
- Identification and protection of potential intellectual property under development;
- Strategic portfolio planning; and
- Risk assessment.
The law recognizes the business value of intangible assets and laws have been developed to protect them:
- Patent Law – Protects innovative and useful machines, articles of manufacturing and processes.
- Copyright Law – Protects creative expression
- Trademark Law – Protects company product identities and brands
- Trade Secret Law – Protects proprietary information by allowing it to remain secret
Companies may rely on one or a combination of these recognized areas of intellectual property law to maximize their competitive advantage. One such additional benefit is generation of revenue through IP licensing.