Insights + Resources

May 25, 2020

The Rise and Rise of IP – How to Protect and Leverage Intangible Assets


Intellectual Property (‘IP’) is the most important asset class for modern businesses today, accounting for almost 90% of a company’s or corporate group’s total asset value. This is almost a complete reverse of the situation in the 1970s, when physical assets accounted for 80% of total value. In this article we explain how businesses can identify and protect their IP suite, and leverage it for competitive advantage.

Identifying valuable IP and unlocking its’ value

The most important IP for a commercial organisation to protect is that which provides a point of differentiation to competitors or is of value to strategic goals.

Despite the value of IP for today, we find that many management teams do not spend a lot of time analysing the IP the business owns, whether as a suite of assets the IP is strong or weak, risks and threats to the IP “castle” or how to protect and leverage an IP suite for competitive edge.

Categories of IP 

IP or intangible assets are sometimes called ‘creations of the mind’ and can include inventions, literary and artistic works, designs and symbols and names and images used in commerce.

Intangible assets may generally divided into four basic categories:

  1. Patents: If the business has a unique invention or method, registered patents provide a commercial monopoly over the invention/method.
  2. Trade marks: A trade mark is a unique mark the registered ownership of which provides an exclusive right to commercialise goods or services within certain registered classes.
  3. Copyright: Copyright provides unregistered rights of over artistic and creative works, such as designs, videos and written material, that enables the owner to stop others copying the work without permission.
  4. Trade Secrets: A trade secret is a form of unregistered rights that keep formulas, commercial methods and other forms of knowledge confidential.

What can I do to protect my IP assets?

Edwards + Co lawyers are experts in the protection and commercialisation of intangible assets. The below schematic provides an overview of our process to identify and protect business IP.

Please contact one of our experts if you would like to discuss the protection and commercialisation of your business IP.

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