Intangible Assets Responsibility To Engage!

Michael D. Moberly    May 7, 2013    ‘A blog where attention span matters’! 

Asset risks can materialize instantaneously, sequentially, and simultaneously and rapidly cascade throughout an enterprise to produce long lasting, and with increasing frequency, permanent adverse economic (competitive advantage) effects, so, in today’s increasingly predatorial global business environment….

First, the responsibilities associated with safeguarding (preserving use, ownership, and monitoring value, materiality, and risk to intangible assets are now akin to fiduciary responsibility (Stone v. Ritter).  They should not be construed as merely constituting new business jargon or optional tasks that can be dismissed or neglected, i.e., it will get done as time permits, when the resources become available, or when competitors do it.

Second, in today’s increasingly ‘flat world’ (Thomas L. Friedman) in which R&D, global business transactions, and company operations are routinely conceived, shaped, driven, and executed by the interconnected flow of data and information, i.e., intangible assets, it makes it all the more important that management teams converge their expertise to ensure the intangibles that are in play, are effectively safeguarded and positioned to realize the economic and competitive advantage benefits which they are capable of delivering without succumbing to risks, challenges, or other forms of asset compromises.

To better enable this, practices, processes, and strategies must be in place, along with a (enterprise-wide) culture that recognizes and appreciates intangible assets, and possess levels of alertness and skill to sustain sufficient control of and monitor key assets’ value, materiality, and risk.

Third, the time frame(s) when most companies can realize the greatest value from their increasingly intangible asset intensive products and services continues to erode, variously due to…

  • the abbreviated value and functionality cycles’ of intangible assets.
  • the absence of (conventional) market entry barriers and enforceable intellectual property law which allow for…
    • global cadres of ‘instantaneous’ competitors and infringers, and
    • extraordinary profits gleaned from (intangible) asset theft, infringement, piracy, and counterfeiting operations that pollute legitimate supply chains.

Fourth, intangibles’ development, acquisition, and utilization must be aligned with core business (and security and risk management) strategies rather than being considered primarily as intellectual property-based legal processes and/or decisions. That’s because, conventional forms of intellectual property enforcement, patents primarily…

  • no longer serve as deterrents, safe harbors, or consistent indicators of asset (company) value.
  • can advance a company (economically, competitively) only so long as a company can sustain unchallenged – undisputed use, ownership, and value, of its IP.
  • are relatively easy prey (vulnerable) to global networks of legacy free players and increasingly sophisticated entities engaged in predatorial data mining, business/competitor intelligence operations and economic espionage.

Fifth, safeguards for intangible asset intensive firms and transactions can be best addressed not solely through legislative mandates which, while generally being politically well-intentioned, are often unenforceable on a global scale, particularly in regions with highly country-centric IP and technology transfer law.  Rather, effective intangible asset safeguards are a product of real attitudinal and operational adjustments in a company’s outlook, strategic thinking and planning coupled with a strong recognition that key intangibles, particularly those linked to ‘operational know how’ are highly sought after globally, and therefore consistently at risk.

Sixth, it’s virtually impossible today to engage in any type of business activity or transaction in which intangible assets are not in play and integral to achieving a favorable outcome. Ultimately then, the line between a company achieving profitability and fighting for its financial survival is now more closely linked than ever before, to its ability to

  • identify, mitigate, and safeguard against risks to its intangible assets ranging from disputes, challenges, theft, infringement, or other forms of (asset) compromise while simultaneously extracting – exploiting value and converting intangibles into sources of revenue.

Indeed, intangibles have become embedded in even the most routine business operation and/or transactions. Absent this acknowledgment, the result is often that substantial asset value, competitive advantage, company reputation, and market space may be irreversibly lost, undermined, or er

Each blog post is researched and written by me with the genuine intent it serves as a useful and respectful medium to elevate awareness and appreciation for intangible assets throughout the global business community.   Most of my posts focus on issues related to identifying, unraveling, and sustaining control, use, ownership, and monitoring asset value, materiality, and risk.  As such, my blog posts are not intended to be quick bites of  unsubstantiated commentary or information piggy-backed to other sources.

Comments regarding my blog posts are encouraged and respected. Should any reader elect to utilize all or a portion of my posts, attribution is expected and always appreciated. While visiting my blog readers are encouraged to browse other topics (posts) which may be relevant to their circumstance or business transaction.  I always welcome your inquiry at 314-440-3593 or [email protected]

 

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