26 August 2010

Online Tool Helps Businesses Manage Intellectual Assets

A new online tool, called Intellectual Property Explorer has been developed by the Asia Pacific Economic Co-operation (APEC) in partnership with the government intellectual property offices of Australia, Hong Kong and Singapore to help small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) realise and profit from their intellectual property assets.

It is pleasing to note that the tool adopts a broad definition of "intellectual property", and reflects an approach generally consistent with principles of Intellectual Asset Management (IAM).

The online system guides users through a four-stage process:
  1. investigate – the types of intellectual assets that might be owned by the business;
  2. identify – the specific, and potentially protectable and commercially-valuable intellectual assets used in the business, including intellectual capital such as "human capital", "structural capital" and "relationship capital";
  3. analyse – the identified intellectual assets through an IP audit process, to establish ownership, freedom to operate, protection strategies, and so forth; and
  4. improve – the value extracted by the business from its intellectual assets, by integrating them into its ongoing business strategies.
We doubt very much that an online tool will enable users who are not already experienced in IP management to conduct a comprehensive audit and implement an IP strategy in their business. However, this system looks like a great starting point for any business wanting to learn more about managing intellectual property, and extracting greater value from its intellectual assets.

As an educational aid, and a stepping stone to improving business practices, recognising the unrealised potential of existing intellectual assets, and making the decision to implement new strategies (perhaps with professional assistance), we think that Intellectual Property Explorer is great initiative. Check it out!


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