Michael D. Moberly January 22, 2015 ‘A blog where attention span really matters’!
What economic – competitive adversaries are really targeting…
Having been actively engaged in the intangible asset arena since the early 1990’s as an intangible asset strategist and risk specialist, I am continually hard pressed to understand why the administration, cabinet secretaries, government agency heads, corporate c-suites, and repetitive pundits consistently portray the target(s) of global economic (cyber) espionage as intellectual property, i.e., patents particularly.
My suspicions are that by continually portraying private sector information asset losses in IP-only contexts more attention is drawn to the issue and using IP-laced language to describe the threat and loss presumes ‘the audience’ would find it challenging to understand the intricacies and distinctions of stolen or misappropriated intangible assets, i.e., intellectual, structural, and relationship capital.
It’s the intangible assets…The persistent initiatives of global economic and competitive advantage adversaries is targeting company’s intangible assets, particularly proprietary know how in the form of intellectual and structural capital that affords adversaries economic and often defense competitive advantages.
These assets are precisely what adversaries’ need, want, and therefore will aggressively and stealthily pursue because, because it is the quickest route to global competitiveness, sector dominance, and profitability while diminishing the reputation of the target (loser).
80+% global economic fact…There is no other time in business governance – management history when steadily rising percentages (80+%) of most company’s value, sources of revenue lie in – emerge almost exclusively, from intangible assets, e.g., intellectual, structural, and relationship capital, reputation, brand, R&D, contracts, and hybrid (proprietary) technologies, etc.
Issued patents do provide legal standing, but little or no deterrence…Issued IP provides holders with (legal) standing to bring criminal and/or civil action against today’s inevitable infringement. But, patent holders should avoid assuming its’ issuance provides much deterrence because potential economic, competitive advantage, and reputational gains are too probable and lucrative to pass up. So, any notion that the proprietary know how underlying – embedded in patents is magically safeguarded, through conventional IP deterrent affects is, truth be told, substantially more myth than reality.
Assumptions to the contrary represent, in my view, wishful, naïve, and out-of-date thinking.
Think about it…Why would an economic – competitive advantage adversary, data mining operation, information broker, or competitor intelligence firm engage in the presumed risk of acquiring (stealing) a U.S. patent when essentially the same information will be published and available online through the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office?
Admittedly, pursuing the ‘patent route’ is often a business decision (WTO requisite) reflective of today’s globally aggressive, predatorial, winner-take-all, and go fast, go hard, go global business (transaction) environment.
Ultimately, those charged with safeguarding valuable proprietary information of a company or client would be respectfully encouraged to ask, how and which knowledge-based intangible assets originating with a company warrant higher levels and more sophisticated safeguards and resilience planning? The answer, that’s where practitioners are obliged to devote their resources and time!