Michael D. Moberly July 16, 2012
Providing services that elevate client familiarity with their intangible assets and strategies to better exploit those assets, can legitimately endear clients to a (law firm) service provider by exceeding expectations and returns for both parties!
Intangible assets surpassed tangible (physical) assets as the dominant economic and competitive advantage driver for most companies beginning in the mid to early-1990’s. This trend continues today with conservative estimates being 65+% of most company’s value, sources of revenue, and ‘building blocks’ for growth evolve directly from intangible assets! For a percentage of c-suites, management teams, and boards responsible for company governance, identifying, harnessing, and exploiting intangibles variously remains a challenge.
Many business leaders portray and/or assume intangible assets are synonymous with intellectual property, an assumption that is more incorrect than correct, i.e., IP is just one type/category of intangible asset, others include intellectual, structural, and relationship capital, brand, reputation, and goodwill to site a few.
One rather confounding aspect to the irreversible and global universality of intangible assets comprising the primary economic and competitive advantage driver for most companies, is that more (business – legal) service providers have not effectively nor widely leveraged intangible asset management, stewardship, oversight, and safeguarding as a platform for ‘being the first on the block’ to deliver enduring and needed intangible asset related services to clients – companies.
I am drawing attention to law firms and IP practice areas in particular, because most have the organizational and marketing structure, experiential disposition, supportive expertise, and client base already in place to develop a strong intangible asset practice could stand alone as well as compliment each of the other practice areas. With minimal orientation and marketing adjustments, firms can respectfully exploit the expanding global market of intangible assets on behalf of their clients. Unfortunately, there is little evidence that this has emerged nearly as broadly as it should.
Those familiar with intellectual, structural, and relationship capital and company culture, know that each contributes mightily to the (a.) development of intellectual property, and (b.) continuous production of ‘internal pipelines’ of valuable intangible assets. In both, effective management, stewardship, oversight, and safeguards are warranted, necessary, and fiduciary responsibilities. Too, when a client company has a strong presence – pipeline of intellectual, structural, and relationship capital that co-exist in complimentary – collaborative ways, it’s quite correct to presume additional intellectual properties are on the horizon.
Again, providing services that elevate client familiarity with intangible assets and strategies to better exploit those assets, can legitimately endear clients to a (law firm) service provider by exceeding expectations and returns for both parties!