Michael D. Moberly July 3, 2009
There are many different views about what it takes to execute a successful launch of a new company and commercialization of its ideas, products, and/or services. Having a very commercializable product or service, a viable business plan, and sufficient experience and capital to execute a focused marketing strategy represent just three of the conventional ingredients that elevates the probability a launch will be successful.
An often overlooked and underestimated ingredient to a successful launch though, is recognizing that 65+% of its projected value and sources of revenue will lie in intertwined combinations of intangible assets, intellectual property, proprietary know how, and competitive advantages.
Unlike patents, trademarks, and/or copyrights however, the USPTO does not issue, to the launching company, a certificate that says, ‘these are your launch critical assets’. Instead, the responsibility for (1.) recognizing those critical assets exist, and (2.) how they individually and collectively contribute to – convert as value, revenue, and competitive advantages, lies solely with the launching company’s management team!
Consequently, in today’s hyper-competitive, predatorial, and global business environment, another ingredient to successful new company (product, service) launches is executing best practices to sustain control, use, ownership and value of those launch critical (intangible) assets throughout their respective function – value cycle. Such practices must reach beyond conventional intellectual property protections, i.e., patents, trademarks, and copyrights which are routinely outpaced, circumvented, and disregarded globally.
While today’s go fast, go hard, go global launch mentalities may not leave time for new company management teams to properly reflect on and/or budget for these increasingly essential safeguards, their absence accounts for vulnerabilities and losses that literally undermine even the best laid business plans and minimize, if not negate, any projected near term and strategic success of a new product-service launch!
Continuing to hedge (neglect, overlook) launch critical assets’ maintenance (e.g., protect, preserve, monitor their use, ownership, and value) will elevate risk-threat probabilities to the point they actually become inevitabilities in which complete or partial (asset) value erosion-dilution can occur, which in turn, creates irreversible marketing boundaries that will impede any potential success of a new product – service launch!
Keeping launch critical asset genies in their bottle! – The ability to effectively safeguard launch critical assets starts with management team recognition of (1.) the contribution and value of the ‘launch critical assets’, (2.) the risks-threats which those assets are routinely exposed that can rapidly erode their value and undermine the launch, and (3.) taking steps to ensure their complete control, use, ownership, and value is defensible and sustainable in both pre and post launch contexts.
If – when launch critical assets get out of their bottle as a result of neglect, oversight, or an illegal or unethical act, the management team must have procedures to put in motion immediately to try to recover the assets’ value and competitive advantages that have been compromised. Once assets have been compromised, the liklihood a company will achieve a complete (economic, competitive advantage) recovery however, is largely dependant on two things, (1.) timely awareness, and (2.) a speedy and effective response. Delays in compromise discovery and securing effective guidance about what actions to take, and when, will complicate and weaken the launching company’s (legal) position insofar as the possibility of achieving a favorable outcome.
Today however, a favorable outcome should not only be asset retrieval, but re-establishing control, use, ownership, and value of the ‘launch critical assets’ and removing any/all ‘compromised assets’ from the global arena until another launch can be executed.
In order to facilitate the probability of a fuller recovery when launch critical assets have been compromised, its prudent to undertake a thorough intangible asset, intellectual property, proprietary know how and competitive advantage assessment as quickly as possible. The assessment findings will contribute to management team deliberations on two critical fronts, i.e., assessing-identifying…
1. priorities and options for trying to (re-) establish ownership and/or (re-) obtain control and use of the, by now hemorrhaged ‘launch critical intangible assets’.
2. strategies to try to stop and/or mitigage further economic -competitive advantage hemorrhaging (of those assets), i.e., devaluation, undermining, infringement, misappropriation, etc., to try to revive the launch!
Risk-threats to a company’s launch critical (intangible) assets should not be dismissed or mis-characterized as merely representing ‘just another risk of doing business’ in today’s hyper-competitive, winner-take-all global business environment. Far too many companies lose, inadvertently relinquish, and/or become entangled in extraordinarily costly, time consuming, and momentum stifling legal disputes and challenges when effective safeguards have been overlooked or disregarded!