Michael D. Moberly – October 24, 2023

Theft of IP (e.g. misappropriation, infringement, and/or reputation risk) specially a business’s (mission essential) IP does not have to translate as an obituary.

Businesses which experience theft of ‘mission essential’ IP often are accompanied by obituaries – eulogies which variously read as ‘that company held a lot of promise if they had safeguarded their proprietary information better’.

Theft of IP (misappropriation, infringement, and/or reputation risk) to business innovation leaders, management teams, boards, and investors, translated to loss of intellectual, structural, and/or relationship capital, that is necessary to advance innovation and which investment and commercialization strategies and marketing are reliant – dependent. Obviously, such losses are both destabilizing and momentum stifling.

Theft of IP often prompts predictable speculation about costs, losses, destabilizing effects, and characterizations of…

  • attempts to retrieve, recover, and restore the innovation.
  • efforts to mitigate, negotiate, and leverage predictions of dissolution, buyout, and lawsuits, etc.

Expressions of (personal, professional) disappointment, frustration, and anger are common reactions, e.g., years of diligent R&D has demoralizingly been undermined for others to benefit for what was done, and/or for others to claim entitlement, e.g., an

  • internal trusted collaborator or associate,
  • external entities holding ideological – scientific disputes, or
  • globally unidentifiable entities with state sponsorship.

Frequently, when a business becomes aware of ‘suddenly destabilizing’ events such as theft of ‘mission essential’ IP, there are initial and various inclinations to…

  • understand how and why the loss occurred, a motive, and possible bad actors and/or bad actions which may have enabled and/or facilitated same.
  • assess near-term personal, professional, financial impacts and setbacks.
  • examine similar circumstances elsewhere which may already be in some stage of negotiation – execution, and others being contemplated vis-a-vis vulnerability to, probability of, and criticality, should comparable risks materialize again.
  • reflection on options and strategies to explore new-different ‘paths’ for innovation development, advancement, and investment, but, more prudently, cautiously, and ‘due diligently’.

There are the fortunate few businesses, i.e., rightful – proprietary holders-developers-owners of innovation that may be variously able to, at least partially, retrieve, recover, and restore lucrative – competitive aspects of the innovation, before it is globally divulged, dissected, and ‘in the pockets’ of economic – competitive advantage adversaries. Being positioned to viably do this is always worthy of consideration, i.e., resilience planning.

The processes – procedures necessary to promisingly pursue alleged bad actors or remedy bad actions in a timely manner, may be (publicly) well intended, or (contractually) demanded.

Respectfully though, either can materialize as a ‘wishful thinking’ recovery and/or salvage operation following a disaster that results in both loss of life and livelihood.

I encourage business – innovation leaders, management teams, boards, and investors to…

  • review – assess convention-laden audacities and superseded assumptions about protections and deterrents implanted in issued IP.
  • recognize oversights, assumptions, and/or dismissiveness to safeguarding – mitigating risk to mission essential intellectual – structural capital as foundations to innovation, its development, advancement, investment, and commercialization, are (fiduciary-level) obligations.

That’s because economically – operationally, 80+/-% of most business’s – innovation’s valuation, competitive advantage, revenue generation capacity, wealth creation potential, and sustainability depend – rely on sustainable and reviewable collaborations of the right sets of intangible assets (intellectual, structural, and relationship capital) being developed and at the right time, and converging in the right way, at the right cost.

Practically speaking, recognition of, and the leadership to execute the above, distinguishes entrepreneurism, R&D, and innovation, produces desirable outcomes, and differentiates risk taking and risk takers.

Each post @ ‘Business Intangible Asset Blog’ is experientially researched, authored, and produced by Michael D. Moberly, principle-founder of kpstrat, to provide readers with reliable perspectives and nuanced insights to business things intangible.  Mr. Moberly is a business intangible asset strategist and risk mitigator. You are invited to review many of his work products, books, and professional papers, at kpstrat.com, along with 1,100+ posts published at Business Intangible Asset Blog.

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