Patents, Collections of Embedded Intangible Assets

Michael D. Moberly   February 9, 2016   ‘A business blog where attention span really matters’.

Think about it. Is it not fair to say that a patent is, in many respects, an organized collection-arrangement of IA’s (intangible assets), i.e., intellectual and structural capital particularly, which have been systematically applied and ultimately embedded in creating something new, novel and/or unique?

Should the above characterization be reasonably accurate, which I believe it is, the key difference between an issued patent and intangible assets is the former can be framed and proudly hung on the wall of the holder’s choosing, while the contributing IA’s, in their non-physical state, are the actual, but uncommunicative enablers – underliers.

Frequently, much to my chagrin as an IA strategist and risk specialist, IP, patents particularly, represent the presumptive ‘brass ring’ which a significant percentage of technology transfer managers, researchers, inventors, and legal counsel set their sights and envision deriving streams of revenue and value as has been conveyed in most every conventional ‘IP 101’ class for the past 100+ years.

My experience, albeit largely confined to university research and RBSU’s, i.e., research based startups, suggest a significant percentage of IP (patent) players are unaccustomed to recognizing the presence of or the contributory role and value emanating from people generated IA’s.

I suspect this oversight attaches to the dominance of patent only strategies held by many companies and organizations coupled with the time honored perspective that an issued patent generally conveys singular (asset) development and ownership. However, the expenditure of time and cost associated with obtaining, maintaining, and defending a patent are escalating which influence the ‘patent only tract’, making it increasingly out-of-reach for many inventors, RBSU’s and the multitude of firms now marked by consistent innovation but absent deep pockets of investment resources.

In today’s increasingly aggressive, predatorial, and winner-take-all global business transaction and R&D environments, patent only tracts, in my view, are in constant states of risk to loss, devaluation, undermining, and/or infringement. Too, there is the widely held, but never-the-less mistaken assumption that an issued patent constitutes a deterrent to, or safe harbor from would be infringers, which it certainly is neither. Indeed, most research projects – products are vulnerable to (a.) becoming entangled-ensnared in various legal disputes and challenges, (b.) failures of effectively marketing, and/or (c.) resources being prematurely withdrawn to sustain the benefits of a patent.

Mr. Moberly is an intangible asset strategist and risk specialist and author of ‘Safeguarding Intangible Assets’ published by Elsevier in 2014, [email protected] View Mr. Moberly’s videos on YouTube at ‘Safeguarding Intangible Assets’.


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