Intellectual Property is the financial valuation backbone of many top companies. The ownership of Patents, brands, creative materials, and closely held secrets draws separation from the competition. If Intellectual Property were not protectable and immediately open as public domain, there would be less reason to invest in advancements and creativity. Intellectual Property is a form of Intangible Asset, and from a business standpoint they are handled similarly. The difference is that Intellectual Properties are granted legal rights in recognition and protection. When your company builds a strong Intellectual Property portfolio, it is building financial and legal strength.
Probably the most recognized area of Intellectual Property, Patents allow for exclusive rights to an invention as described within its claims. Utility Patent rights extend for 20 years from the time of filing, until which time it becomes public domain.
There are different methods to acquire Patent rights. The most common is the result of a company’s internal R&D efforts followed by application to the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Other methods to acquire Patent rights are by direct purchase or licensing methods. Both purchasing and licensing of Patent rights has become a more popular method for a company to obtain the rights to a technology without the cost and time constraints of the R&D process. This allows the licensee with specific technology rights to get the product to market sooner. Licensing agreements can vary greatly based on the terms between parties. The main factor is exclusive or nonexclusive licensing rights. Basically, do I have all of the rights or do I share with others who have also entered into an agreement with the Patent holder, such as competitors?
At BUSINESS INTANGIBLES™, we work to best generate revenue from your company’s Patent portfolio. As you look at Tactical and Strategic Plans, how does existing, in process, and potential purchase and licensing opportunities fit? It may even include the licensing out of your currently held Patent to others, resulting in royalty revenue. There are many strategies to utilizing the power of Patent rights. We work diligently to answer your questions and best generate revenue from your company’s Patent portfolio.
Trademarks as an Intellectual Property identify a business, product, or service. The Trademark allows for exclusive use (typically a name, symbol, phrase, image, etc) as related to use in the consumer marketplace. Usage and proper registration allows usage protection for the owner against others who may use the same or like identifiers to confuse and take consumer market share. Trademarks can be renewed periodically to create an indefinite protection timeframe.
A company’s Trademark is a vital part of its business. It portrays to others, especially customers, who you are. A brand or image can prove to be more valuable to a company than the product or service that it provides. For example, some of the most recognizable brands are Coca-Cola and Nike. Coca-Cola is a highly recognizable and greatly valued item, known worldwide to identify refreshing soft drinks. The Nike swoosh is a symbol to represent a brand of shoe along with a line of apparel. As shown by these examples, the identifiers create a value to the product greater than without. If Trademarks did not protect these examples, others could use them in the marketplace to sell “knock off” products, reducing the value of the names and symbols companies have grown.
At BUSINESS INTANGIBLES™, we understand the value of your Trademark and branding. Your company’s Strategic Plan for overall worth can be greatly affected by the handling of your product and corporate identities. We will work with you to create, promote and increase the value of these entities. Allow BUSINESS INTANGIBLES™ to assist you to ensure you the greatest return possible.
Copyrights protect an author’s creative expressions of their ideas in whichever tangible form the expression may take. This form of Intangible Asset may include writing, software, painting, music, drawing, industrial designs, etc. It gives the creator an exclusive right against those who copy the protected medium. The timeframe of Copyright protection is quite long and usually extends beyond the life of the author before becoming public domain.
The emergence and growth of computer software has expanded how businesses look at Copyrights. There are a large number of companies who write software code to accomplish a large variety of functions. These programs’ source code generally falls within the Copyright realm, which in turn, can be sold under a usage license to software users. Other areas of daily business also can be affected by Copyright. Operating procedures, business practices, quality systems, human resource documentation, etc. need to be considered for Copyright protection. If created in house, they have value, and if an outsider’s usage occurs without permission, there can be legal recourse.
At BUSINESS INTANGIBLES™, we look at your company’s operating documentation, searching for Intellectual Property from your company’s internal creativity. Outside of the software industry, created documentation is primarily looked at as part of normal day-to-day business, with little regard to value and protection rights. There is value for your company in the documents, and it’s our job to identify and access its value.
Trade Secrets may be the most unique form of Intellectual Property. Unlike Patents, where you explain to the world how to do something, a Trade Secret is purposely kept from the world. If others can determine the specific item that makes it unique, i.e. reverse engineering, it cannot be infringed upon, thus no legal action can be taken. Trade Secret protection is not federally protected as other forms of Intellectual Property. It is limited to state law statutes and under certain circumstances.
Probably the best-known Trade Secret is the formula for Coca-Cola. This secret has withstood the test of time far beyond the 20 years allotted by Patent protection. The formula is well protected and limited to a select few. There are three basic elements to legally keeping a Trade Secret. These are; not known to the public, confer some sort of economic benefit, and is subject to reasonable efforts to maintain its secrecy. Customer lists are a good example of testing the legal elements of Trade Secrets. If an employee leaves to a competitor taking a list of customers for use, there is legal remedy if the list was properly handled as a Trade Secret.
At BUSINESS INTANGIBLES™, we assist your company to identify and place protective measures to safely keep your Trade Secrets a secret. Most times, too much effort and cost have gone into creating such protected entities. Losing unprotected Trade Secrets can be detrimental to the company without recourse.