Intangible Asset Fences…

Dr. Joel Brenner…former Director, Office of National Counterintelligence Executive (ONCIX) remarks below, represent timeless perspectives regarding the necessity to safeguard a company’s proprietary know how and knowledge, ala intellectual, structural, and relationship capital = intangible assets!

As readers of this blog know well…it is economic fact today, and for the foreseeable future, that 80+% of most company’s value, sources of revenue, competitiveness, and sustainability lie in – emerge directly from intangible (non-physical) assets!

I have adapted Dr. Brenner’s remarks (below) for clarity and emphasis…from a speech he made to the American Bar Association in Washington, D.C. in March 2007.  Some may perceive the following in a comedic context, to be sure, there is no such intent!

Dr. Brenner began his remarks by saying…

when a company finds a hole in its proprietary information – intangible asset fence, the responsibility of information-intangible asset security is to patch the hole. But, the responsibility of intangible asset protection-safeguard is, in addition to helping patch the hole in the fence, determine

1. What caused the hole in the fence (vulnerability) to develop in the first place, i.e., identify precipitating factors and/or precursors.

2. The circumstances in which the hole in the fence was initially discovered, revealed, and/or came to the attention of decision-makers?

3. How long the hole in the fence existed before it was discovered, revealed?

4. If anyone knew this particular-vulnerability existed previously, but elected not to report it?

5. What information assets got through the hole in the fence before it was discovered and patched?

6. If evidence exists to suggest the information assets that got through the hole in the fence before it was discovered and patched, had been specifically targeted, if so, by whom and why?

7. Who the initial recipients or end users of the information assets that got through the hole in the fence are, before it was discovered and patched…?

8. The most probable ways which the initial recipients and/or end users intended – have used – already exploited the information-intangible assets extracted from the hole in the fence, before it was discovered and patched…?

9. The practices, i.e., intangible asset audits, valuations, etc., in place for assessing the level of (asset) impairment and/or hemorrhaging that has-will occur to asset value, materiality, competitive advantage, brand, reputation, ownership rights, erosion of trade secrecy requisites, or strategic planning as a result of economic-competitive advantage adversaries exploiting the hole in the fence.

Therefore, the responsibilities of intangible asset strategists, safeguard and risk specialists…are now cross-functional and converge with reputation risk management, brand integrity, R&D, HR, IT security, IP counsel (audits, valuation), and accounting, etc.  Those charged with safeguarding a company’s intangible assets are now obliged to recognize that…

  • information assets are a dominant and valuable type – category of intangible asset.
  • safeguard responsibilities should include factoring each assets’ fragility, stability, materiality, attractivity, and defensibility.

Michael D. Moberly January 23, 2019 St. Louis [email protected] the ‘Business Intangible Asset Blog’ since May 2006, 650+ published posts, where one’s attention span, businesses intangible assets, and solutions converge’!

Readers are invited to explore more blog posts, position papers, video, and books at

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