Of course, few organizations would admit that management fails to fully realize the asset that forms the bulk of today's corporate value. Many managers also may not believe they have the requisite knowlede to determine whether their company's intellectual assets are being properly exploited. Fortunately, it can be fairly easy to discern whether a company's management expends the effort necessary to capture and maximize its intellectual assets. Put simply, if an organization's top business leadership does not possess an engaged knowledge of their company's short and long term intellectual property strategy, one can directly infer that the company is leaving significant intellectual asset value on the table.
What do I mean by "engaged knowledge" of a company's intellectual property? The following quiz should shed light on this critical aspect of strategic business management today.
Assume that as the CEO of a Fortune 1000 company, you are called upon to participate in an interview with a business magazine reporter. The article will be widely read by the investment community for insights as to whether your company is a good long term invesment. The reporter includes your company's intellectual property strategy as a list of topics about which she may inquire. To prepare for these questions regarding your company's intellectual property do you:
- A. Call your intellectual property counsel to give you an overview of the status of your company's intellectual property; or
- B. Nothing. As CEO it is your responsibility to formulate and oversee your company's intellectual property operations at a strategic level. You are therefore capable of and comfortable with discussing your company's intellectual property strategy in the interview.
Admittedly, the subject of intellectual property can be rather arcane and difficult for a non-specialist to embrace with earnest. This no doubt results in many corporate managers resisting development of engaged knowledge of their company's intellectual assets. However, failure to develop engagement with their company's intellectual property strategy is self-defeating: continued resistance will result in corporate value left on the table and the company falling further behind in realizing its intellectual asset.
Fortunately, it is not as hard as it may at first seem to develop engaged knowledge of your company's intellectual assets. Just as a business professional need not become an expert in environmental science and policy to participate in his company's sustainability strategy, one does not need to become a legal expert to develop engaged knowledge of their intellectual property strategy. For example, engaged knowledge does not require you to be able to recite with specificity the number of patents pending and what products or technology are covered by your company's patents. Such tactical knowledge properly rests with your organization's intellectual property specialists. Instead, engaged knowledge of your company's intellectual assets requires you to have a strategic understanding of where your company stands today with respect to its intellectual property, as well as the strategic efforts your organization plans to undertake the intellectual property realm.
When you develop such engaged knowledge of your organization's intellectual assets your company will improve the probability that your short and long term business strategies will pay off and your company's financial objectives will be achieved. In short, you will more likely capture your company's intellectual asset value and stop leaving this money on the table.