Think of IP as anything your company knows that gives it a competitive advantage i.e. anything that you would want to keep secret from your competition and /or prevent them from copying.
Steps to good IP management to prevent IP value leakage:
1. IP education. Good IP knowledge and understanding throughout the business.
2. IP Audit of what IP you actually own, using the broad definition above, this may be painful but will significantly help IP awareness through the business
3. Protect and manage all IP in the business for value
4. Develop processes to ensure any new IP is identified and protected accordingly, this prevents IP destruction
5. Review regularly. IP must match the business objectives and market conditions and as these change so will your requirements from your IP portfolio
6. Make sure your IP is protected fully in all contracts with employees, and third-party suppliers, customers and partners
7. Consider broadscale use of intellectual property not just as passive protection but also actively engaged in business negotiations with suppliers, customers and partners through licensing and even sale where IP no longer serves a purpose within the business
8. IP as a deterrent. Let people know you have good IP, that you value it and will defend it – develop a ‘prickly’ exterior so people think twice about infringing your IP
9. Pursue any infringers and defend your IP
10. Explain the (non confidential) aspects of your IP strategy with key stakeholders in the business
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Author: John Pryor Exalt IP