Intellectual asset management
Novel technology or a great creation can prove very valuable and in many cases even business-critical. However, it can be difficult to identify all relevant intellectual property rights in your organization. It all begins with awareness of the potential existence of know-how, inventions or creations which may be protected by intellectual property rights.
Intellectual property and intellectual assets
‘Intellectual property right’ is an umbrella concept for rights like patent right, plant breeders’ rights, trademark rights, trade names, design rights, copyright and database rights.
In addition, there is the wider concept of ‘intellectual assets’. This includes more than just identifiable intellectual property in a legal sense and also comprises best practices, internal procedures, employee know-how, brand image, customer data, secret know how etc.
Getting started and organized
Most organization are aware of the relevance of having a patent on really technical inventions or methods. And normally, you will have arranged for the basic protection: your agent has applied for a patent or plant breeders’ right, a trademark agency has filed your trademark or design. But do you have the full picture of all IP rights available within your organization, including unregistered rights like copyrights, unregistered designs or confidential proprietary information/know-how (technical, organisational or commercial)?
And what are the next steps to be taken? For instance, how do you exploit a good idea and how do you monitor your important assets?
For legal (and tax) reasons, it is also advisable to carefully consider the ‘allocation’ of registered or unregistered rights.
In nearly all cases, it is advisable to transfer the rights to a company (for example, a holding company or a separate company), separated from the risk- bearing operating company. This is because there are always unexpected developments resulting in the operating company being unable to survive. It would be regrettable if, as a result of this, all rights would pass into the hands of the bankruptcy trustee. This would make a relaunch considerably more difficult.
It is advisable to consult a lawyer or tax lawyer about the solutions best suited to your specific needs at an early stage.
It is crucial to maintain continuous attention for the management of IP rights, licenses, contracts and, if required, that action is taken in case of infringement or to defend against claims and procedure initiated by third parties.
Working and dealing with registered or unregistered intellectual property and intellectual assets is a continuing process. After all, developments do not stop with an invention or a creation. This is only the beginning.
An invention, a creation or further development of a specific creation or invention may result in new or additional rights.
The registration or identification of intellectual assets, including intellectual property rights, is usually directed towards exploitation.
Proper and practicable contracts are essential for responsible exploitation.
We repeat that intellectual asset management is an ongoing process…
What can we do for you?
Many organizations do not have sufficient time to take care of matters like these. So why not have a chat with us to see how we can assist?