Managing and Protecting Intellectual Capital: It’s A Necessity, Not An Option

Michael D. Moberly April 1, 2010

It is incumbent on leadership teams and boards today, regardless of company size, industry sector, or product/service lines, to consider managing and protecting their intellectual capital (IC) as both a fiduciary responsibility and economic necessity.  Why, because a company’s IC serves as one of several key underliers and enablers of company growth, profitability, and competitiveness, in other words, sustainability and success.

While intellectual capital is often characterized as a companies collective knowledge, know how, and skills that accumulate and/or accrue over years of operation, its also the understanding of how best to use/apply that knowledge.

Managing and protecting intellectual capital starts by recognizing the advantages, sources of revenue, and company value is increasingly dependant on – driven by IC and other intangible assets. In fact, 65+% of most company’s value, sources of revenue, growth potential, and sustainability are tied directly to intangible assets like IC.

A ‘best practice’ IC management and protection regime should  (a.) not be operationally onerous, (b.) be relevant and applicable to organizationally/operationally diverse and complex companies, (c.) not impede necessary business processes and functions, (d.) be sufficiently flexible to accommodate each format which IC exists – manifests itself within a company, and (e.) be tailored to address (mitigate) the often nuanced and increasingly sophisticated vulnerabilities and risks to IC, e.g., where a firm conducts business, its industry sector, and product/service lines.

Managing and protecting a firm’s intellectual capital is necessary because one of the growing realities of today’s globally competitive, predatorial, and winner-take-all business environment is that IC is (a.) perishable, (b.) readily transferrable, and (c.) consistently vulnerable to theft, misappropriation, and/or compromise,

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