As the world becomes increasingly more connected, so does the competitiveness between businesses and their need to keep up with innovation.
A new reality of global marketplaces, volatile consumerism, networks, work force outsourcing and shorter products life cycles; has put a greater demand on achieving more with less.
These new trends are shedding a new light on the importance of the value creation chain and its impact on all market participants. Meanwhile, the measure of added value is in most cases associated with the ability to quantify and trade creativity, intellect and other intangibles. However, as these tasks are quickly being replaced by ever evolving automation processes and intelligent machines, a greater consideration must be given to the management of those underlying assets. The management of intellectual property and other intangibles is becoming more important in a world where businesses success is measured by their ability to innovate and/or capitalise on innovation.
The intangibles that add value and differentiate one product from another can be protected by Intellectual Property. This protection can further be turned into proprietary rights thus according an exploitation exclusivity to their owner and allowing him/her to prevent anyone else from using and leveraging their innovation.
Exploiting IP Assets
Direct Use:Core to the competitiveness of the product or service
Indirect Use:Sale, license, franchise or merchandise–Joint ventures and strategic alliance
Other possibilities:Defensive patenting, publication
Direct commercialisation of IP assets enables the owner to maintain control and competitiveness and can be the most adequate strategy to adopt in cases of:
Direct production and distribution.
For exhibition in fairs, online catalogues, etc.
To enforce the IP rights against infringes.
These options provided direct quality and exploitation control; but however, exposes the owner to higher cost and risks.
Indirect Commercialisation of IP assets enables the owner to mediate the exploitation to third parties based on contractual agreement. This strategy offers a few advantages such as:
Low investment / Low risks.
Potentially high return.
The drawback is that, special attention must be given to contracting when the exploitation is delegated to third parties through the assignment of IP Rights or licensing. Licensing can be a very effective for:
Strategic, core technology or patents.
Non-core or “mature”technology and patents, products.
Struggling businesses or products (new or mature).
Technology that can be applied to other markets.
Trade marks, designs, copyright, know-how and any other combination.
Key steps to follow when licensing
Protect your IP rights
Find right licensee
Assess foreign markets
Tailor scope of license to actual needs of licensee
Preserve control over the commercial use of your works
Negotiate fair compensation
Draft a solid license agreement
The management of licenses.
This strategy refers to a special license, where the franchisee is allowed by the franchiser to use a particular business model, licensed in a bundle o IP Rights ( TM, service marks patents, copyrighted work...) and supported by training in exchange for a fee.
All franchisees are licensees but not all licensees are franchisees.
Merchandising Refers to the commercial exploitation of a name, symbol or distinctive design of a recognised brand within a particular field for the purpose of selling good or services in others fields.This strategy present some advantages for both parties:
For the merchandiser: expand its business to other lines of products / services without taking financial risks.
For the : benefit from the brand recognition of the merchandiser’s products / services.
Other strategies such as Join Ventures and Strategic Alliances, enables parties to execute agreements and collaborative partnerships that can enhance the overall IP Rights performance. Regardless of the strategy adopted, IP assets and IP Rights management enables individuals and businesses to fully leverage the value of their Intellectual property and other intangibles. Careful consideration must always be taken before planing and executing an exploitation strategy.
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