In today’s resource-constrained and highly competitive environment, companies and their senior executives have a keen interest in maximizing the value of their intellectual property, many of which are generated by employees’ daily activities. One way to help build a valuable intellectual property portfolio is to establish an Intellectual Property Program (IPP). Properly designed, an IPP can help identify, protect, and optimize the value of a company’s key assets and increase its competitive advantage.
Any company developing intellectual property, which could include rights over products, services, technology, business practices, and creative content, should implement fundamental IP protections. These protections include ensuring staff members and consultants have signed confidentiality and assignment of invention agreements and educating employees, especially those in sales, marketing, engineering, and legal, about the basics of trade secret, patent, and other intellectual property protection.
A company should be keenly aware of these issues as it begins to look at ways to increase competitive advantages in the market or sell new products in new regions of the world. Managed well, an IPP can help focus the company on developing processes that can highlight competitive opportunities and topics for management, in addition to helping build a valuable intellectual property portfolio.