It can be easy for a company to value it’s tangible assets as these tend to be physical assets that are easy to recognise. Intangible assets are sometimes more difficult to see but can be even more valuable to a business and this is where Intellectual Property (IP) sits.
An intellectual property right gives the inventor rights of ownership and protection. In the UK depending on the nature of your IP, it will fall into one of a number of different categories and can be broken down as:
Patents are the most commonly sought form of IP protection for commercialising university research. They relate to how something works, preventing the unauthorised usage of a process or invention. In order to qualify for a patent, the idea must be new, it must be directly applicable within an industry and it must include a degree of invention
Copyrights are commonly applied in creative industries, because they protect recorded works of many forms including literature, film, art, music and radio broadcasts. A copyright gives the author legal ownership, and equipping them to take legal action in the case of plagiarism or infringement.
Trademarks identify your particular product or organisation – and it can be issued for a name, slogan, symbol or otherwise as long as it is not already in common usage.
Designs protect the visual appearance of physical articles, surface decorations, GUIs (graphical user interfaces), computer icons and the like. In the UK there are two types of design right.
Trade Secrets protect pieces of information such as methods, ingredients or formulas that are secret and have commercial value.
Our three top tips when developing an IP strategy are:
1. What assets do you want to create?
2. What do you know and what should you know?
3. What is the benefit to the IP strategy?
The last question is the most important. It should dictate the level of investment made in your own knowledge and the assets you wish to create. The likelihood of success can be better framed when you know what you are trying to achieve.