John Stuart the Chief Executive of the Quaker Oats Company between 1922 and 1953 is quoted as saying:

"If this company were to split up, I would give you the property, plant and equipment and I would take the brands and the trademarks and I would fare better than you."

Intangible assets such as brands, designs, photographs, advertising copy and inventions are often of much greater value than the physical assets of a company such as plant, buildings, and equipment. What is often the most valuable asset of your company, your good name! If you do not protect those intangible assets like you protect your buildings or plant via insurance, then you are missing a trick in the world of business and giving away your competitive advantage in the marketplace.

The protection of intellectual property (IP) assets can be seen as both sword and a shield. A sword to provide a cordon sanitaire around your core business assets enabling you to stop your competitors trading off your good name or using your invention or design. It can also be a shield securing your use of those assets and providing a defensive insurance policy for the future. IP is also a legally recognised property right which can be valued and sold.

Registering trade marks, design and patents does not need to be costly. You do not need to register everything everywhere. We appreciate that budgets are tight but with strategic advice we can enable you to register your core assets in core trading countries or areas. Further in the United Kingdom and other common law countries at least some IP rights can be established simply via use or on creation. Not all IP rights are established via registration

You first have to realise the importance of IP, then determine what IP you have, then home in or what of the IP is key and then protect it. If you do not, your competitors will.

Originally published by The Voice.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.