A business journalist asked me today: "What role can directors play to secure their organisation's intellectual property".
Nice question. But I'd like to answer a better question.
It's this: "What role can directors play to build and protect an intellectual property business and its future?"
In response here's my list of 9 priorities for a business which aspires to own or control valuable assets and rights under intellectual property law.
Company directors should direct management to authorise experienced legal counsel to:
- Conduct an IP audit
- Create or update the organisation's IP register
- Advise on IP strategy at the organisation, operations and products levels
- Register IP where appropriate, eg of trade marks, patents and designs
- Implement legal advice to shape product and packaging design or specifications so as to build-in IP rather than bolt-on IP protection as an afterthought
- Use IP notices appropriately to legally label products, services, systems, technologies and web presence;
- Document in-house company IP policy and procedures
- Ensure employee, contractor and various other types of contracts contain appropriate provisions to cover IP
- After the above is done, review and evaluate their IP, and to take assets to the next level, repeat tasks 1 to 8 as needed
Company directors seeking to build intellectual property businesses must associate the above 9 tasks with the core competency of their management teams. That requires personnel training and engagement of external legal and other advisers, coaches and mentors as needed.
In their 1994 book, Competing for the Future, CK Prahalad (first picture above) and Gary Hamel (second picture above) discussed in fascinating detail how development of competency was creating opportunity for corporations. The book followed on from their 1990 Harvard Business Review article, The Core Competence of the Corporation. The article introduced "core competence" into business management terminology.
Implementation of the 9 priorities discussed in this article will build the core competency required for an intellectual property corporations and businesses.
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