Protecting Intellectual Property and Intangible Assets

Numerous studies have been conducted by private consulting firms, government agencies, and professional associations that find U.S. companies literally lose between $59 and $239 billion each year due to theft, misappropriation, counterfeiting, and/or economic espionage of trade secrets, proprietary know how, and intellectual property.

Numerous studies have been conducted by private consulting firms, government agencies, and professional associations that find U.S. companies literally lose between $59 and $239 billion each year due to theft, misappropriation, counterfeiting, and/or economic espionage of trade secrets, proprietary know how, and intellectual property.

For a significant percentage of these losses, unfortunately, the owners – companies have no real time monitoring capabilities in place to be alerted, in close time proximity, when those losses occur. For purposes of analogy, let’s say you called the police last spring to report your lawn mower had been stolen, but whimsically admitted to the responding officer that you hadn’t checked your backyard storage unit since late fall. You then wondered why the officer expressed frustration with your lack of attentiveness.

The same holds true with a company’s valuable intellectual property, intangible assets, proprietary know how and competitive advantages. If a company doesn’t track or monitor those assets regularly, or worse, doesn’t know where they are or their value, don’t expect them to be intact and available when they’re needed.

Given the economic fact – business reality that 75+% of most company’s value, sources of revenue, and future wealth creation (sustainability) lie in – are directly linked to those assets, why is it then that probably a significant percentage of business decision makers and business unit managers:

o can probably pinpoint the precise time of day their desk stapler went missing, but they’re absolutely clueless about the current status (stability, sustainability, defensibility, and value) of their company’s most valuable intangible assets, intellectual property, trade secrets, and proprietary know how and will likely assume that’s the responsibility of outside counsel?

o entrust their most valuable intangible assets, proprietary business practices, and trade secrets to people – employees they only say hi, goodbye and thanks to at the office or photocopying machine?

o most business decision makers and their companies initially learn about the value of their misappropriated, compromised, or infringed intellectual property or trade secrets by asking legal counsel what their fees will be to try to get them back.
Conversely if decision makers assume:

o the company’s most valuable intellectual property and intangible assets are sufficiently protected by computer/IT security, non-disclosure and confidentiality agreements, and employee sense of loyalty, try listening to cell phone conversations in hotel lobbies and airport lounges or glance at the laptop screen of the person seated next to you.

o the company’s ideas and innovation are adequately protected because a patent has been issued, its time to learn about global data mining, business intelligence, and information brokering operations, or just go to globalfleamarket.com and see the company’s product in counterfeit form or read about the company’s strategic planning – new product rollout on iknowyourtradesecrets.com

o no one is interested in the company’s strategic planning, client lists, pricing strategies, R&D projects, and business practices, why are there 19+ university programs in the U.S. and Canada, plus hundreds of seminars conducted globally to train people in the art and science of collecting-analyzing-utilizing business and economic intelligence?

Mr. Moberly has conducted numerous national presentations, seminars, and training for business organizations and professional associations on a range of issues related to helping companies sustain control, use, ownership, and value of their intellectual property, intangible assets, proprietary information and competitive advantages.

A professor at Southern Illinois University (1982-2002) Mike brings strong domestic and international experiences, operational insights, research regimen, and concise/objective writing skills to benefit his clients. As a researcher, analyst, strategist, educator, and practitioner, Mike offers services to various business venues and transactions in which intellectual property and intangible assets are in play. Mike has a BA and MPA degree from Indiana University. He holds leadership positions in the American Society for Industrial Security International and the Intangible Asset Finance Society among others.

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