Intellectual property issues transcend business size and sector and have become increasingly important as the shift toward knowledge-based economies continues. But before companies can effectively protect their intellectual capital, a number of prevailing misconceptions should be clarified.
According IP Watchdog contributor Beth Hutchens, many organizations have difficulty differentiating the elements encompassed by intellectual property. Patents, copyrights, trademarks and trade secrets all fall under the IP umbrella, but each are governed by unique regulations and should be managed accordingly.
Also, there is a prevailing notion that patents are the most valuable form of IP. In reality, the best form of IP will vary from business to business. A chocolatier may place more stock in trade secrets whereas recording musicians are more likely to focus on copyrights.
Another common mistake in IP management strategies is underestimating the complexity of the legal process. Although preparing an application can take extraordinary efforts in some cases, this is often only the start of a longer process. As Hutchens reminds readers, IP rights require thoughtful, ongoing management, and even granted rights will not necessarily prevent future infringement issues.
But perhaps the most detrimental fallacy surrounding IP is that it is not particularly important, according to SMEWeb. Unfortunately, the value of intellectual capital is often underestimated before it is lost. Employing a thorough strategy from day one may be essential not only to protecting IP, but also leveraging it for future gains.