Intellectual Asset Management Best Practices – Part 1


Does your organization have "intellectual assets"? Regardless of what your organization does - whether it is a service-based business, or in the manufacturing sector, whether it is driven by cloud-based software or bricks-and-mortar locations, whether it is a multinational or a local start-up - chances are good that you can start to list the intellectual capital that has value in your organization. What do we mean by "intellectual assets"? There are many definitions, but one broad definition is simply "knowledge that has value in your organization", and it can encompass:

Human know-how and intellectual capital - the unwritten expertise, experience, concepts and technical knowledge that employees have in their heads; and Intellectual assets, including registered and unregistered intellectual property (IP) - this includes the codified or "captured" knowledge that adds to your organization's value, such as trade secrets that might be captured in internal processes, manuals, design specifications, software source-code and other unpublished know-how, as well as the value represented by: Patents (including Canadian and international applications and issued patents); Copyright-protected works (including published and unpublished written works); Trademarks (including logo designs, registered and common law marks); Industrial designs, and other forms of registered intellectual property. Some organizations are better at managing and obtaining value from their intellectual assets. What are the best practices for the management of these assets? In this series, we'll review current best practices for management of intellectual assets as a competitive tool. Experts in the area of intellectual asset management have identified several layers or tiers of sophistication in the handling of such assets. Therefore, while a start-up inventor may certainly learn from the approach of Apple, Inc., each organization must look at best practices from the perspective of their organization, their resources and their stage of development. As a starting point, the following three steps lay the groundwork for future steps of IP management and value creation:

1: Conduct an Audit

The first step in any organization that is new to intellectual asset management is to conduct a review of existing assets. This is also a great exercise for organizations whose IP portfolio may be evolving - perhaps through recent growth, acquisitions, internal research and development (R&D) or...

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