Jackie Maguire, CEO Coller IP and Co-chair of INTIPSA talks to
the UK Science Park Association about turning "Innovation into
Success" in science parks, innovation centres, incubators and
Meeting an Emerging Need
Intellectual assets – which include aspects such as
brands and corporate know-how – are something that all
businesses should be concerned about, not just technology companies
holding patents. With knowledge and information now major drivers
of the global economy, more and more companies are coming to
recognise the management of IP as a function distinct from
day-to-day IP protection. They also appreciate the strategic role
of IP and other intangibles in building and maintaining competitive
advantage. From multinationals to start-ups, companies in all
countries and sectors are focusing on the role of intellectual
property in building business value.
In the Board Rooms of today's progressive companies, CEOs
and CFO's are now elevating Intellectual Property to the Board
Agenda recognising its importance as a major business asset. With
Intellectual Property often representing the lion's share of
intangible assets, which in turn typically represent 80% of the
market value, there is much at stake for the Board to consider.
Developing a good IP Strategy is therefore an important part of any
Business Plan and requires a combination of skills and experience
covering technical, commercial and legal disciplines. IP
Strategists provide the insight required.
IP strategists are found in a wide variety of roles, such as
CIPOs, CTOs, and VPs for research in corporates and start-ups, as
well as in-house IP counsels. This area is also of interest to
professional and advisory services, including strategy consultants,
IP attorneys and IP lawyers, specialist brokers & valuers,
venture capitalists, and corporate and angel investors.
INTIPSA aims to raise awareness of the value of IP strategy in
business; allow professionals to improve their knowledge and
skills; and promote excellence and professionalism within the IP
strategy community. It also provides an important international
marketplace for IP strategy services."
How to make progress
Resources and an information hub on multiple aspects of IP
Strategy can be found on INTIPSA's website (www.intipsa.com)
and regular webinars provide training for members and non-members.
But how can evolving companies start to develop their IP Strategy
and engage with experts operating in the field?
The first step might be to undertake a thorough audit. A
company's real value is far more than simply filing patents,
and perhaps registering trade marks and designs. It also in its
wider intangible assets which include so-called know-how as well as
branding, skills, policies, creative works and processes.
Identification of all the valuable intangible assets in a company
can be done internally or by calling in outside specialists to
undertake an audit and landscaping exercise.
Next, a company needs to ensure that protection is as watertight
as possible. In addition to having the right patents and trademarks
in place an organisation needs to ensure, for example, that its
commercial and competitive position is protected, by taking steps
to ensure that employees can't leak ideas that have been
created within the organisation to a competitor.
And then there are the important steps relating to
commercialisation and exploitation. IP Advisory firms have
developed Commercialisation and Management Processes that allows
clients to understand the value of their intangible assets and to
assess and track the commercial potential of their products and
services at different stages of development. In addition, the
processes can prompt decisions on how and whether to protect the
underlying assets. A good IP Advisor will not just help a business
with the legal protection, it will actively help in the
commercialisation process of the ideas behind the goods or services
that the company is selling by helping the organisation to realise
the value of all the different aspects of the IP.
Last but not least, for anyone looking to attract funding,
getting the IP in order is essential. Many venture
capitalists/angel investors will be considering a range of IP
factors when making their decision whether or not to invest.
Knowing the value of your IP or which parts of your IP are more
valuable than others is essential when making decisions about what
parts of the business to develop, and when considering applying for
funding or contemplating a sale. Putting the right IP protection in
place is a vital part of the commercial strategy for a company,
whether it is a start-up, or growing or established business and
The High Court has held that Marks and Spencer infringed Interflora's trade marks when it bought keyword terms sold by Google which referenced "interflora" and advertised its own flower service on the back of them.
In a recent High Court judgment, it was held not only that the claimant’s patent for a coffee machine capsule extraction device was not infringed by the supply of compatible capsules by the defendant, but that the patent itself was invalid.
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