University-Based Research: The Necessity To Safeguard Intellectual and Structural Capital!

Michael D. Moberly   January 7, 2013

University technology transfer units and faculty researchers are obliged now, more than ever, to think differently about safeguarding their intangible assets and intellectual properties…

 The rules of engagement in the world of entrepreneurism and scientific/commercial R&D have changed largely due to the persistent, predatorial, and ultra-sophisticated threats and risks emanating from legacy free independent players as well as state sponsored intelligence and data mining entities which are unfortunately far too often misunderstood, naively discounted or omitted from information, IP, and intangible asset protection, risk management, and oversight equations.

Initiatives (programs) to effectively safeguard and manage these key assets need to be holistic, i.e., from start to finish, and include practices to elevate awareness to and otherwise mitigate this ‘always on’ global dilemma.

Most universities’ technology transfer landscape is now shaped almost exclusively by the development and flow of intangible products and services, i.e., the flow of information, know how, and other forms of intangible assets.  Similarly, university and institutional value has literally shifted away from collections of physical (tangible) assets to collections of intellectual, structural, and relationship capital which have become valuable and standalone commodities for which sustaining control, use, ownership, defensibility and consistently monitoring value are essential to technology transfer, commercialization, and other monetization initiatives.

Universities, faculty researchers, and technology transfer units need to think differently about past practices and conventions!  The laws associated with intellectual property protections and enforcements are largely reactive, not proactive, and typically apply after, and if, protected information asset (IP) losses, i.e. infringement, misappropriation, and/or theft have occurred and ultimately become known to their originator, owner, and/or holder.

For example, when research commences and if/when a patent may be issued, faculty researchers, research administrators, and technology transfer units are dependent on their (a.) respective levels’ of awareness to the assets’ vulnerability to loss or impairment, i.e., through compromise, infringement, misappropriation, and counterfeiting, etc., and (b.) willingness and resources to aggressively pursue suspected wrong doers in a timely and aggressive manner.

In other words, all university-based research in my view, is obliged to reflect today’s very real, persistent, and asymmetric vulnerabilities and threats.  To achieve this, intangible asset protection and monitoring practices must be much more proactive and put in in place on the front end in order to sustain control, use, ownership, and monitor value, materiality, and risk.  After all, in conventional venture capital forums, as well as the increasingly trendy and accepted (patent) auctions where much university-based research gravitates and brought to the attention of venture capitalists, key and prudent questions posed have to do with not just the proverbial ‘what’s your IP position’, but they drill deeper to assess the status, defensibility, and vulnerability of the research (intangible asset) product.  Too be sure, it is imprudent, if not irresponsible to not have a compelling and authoritative response.

My blog posts are researched and written by me with the genuine intent they serve as a worthy and respectful venue 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 information, unsubstantiated commentary, or single paragraphed platforms to reference other media. 

Comments regarding my blog posts are encouraged and respected. Should any reader elect to utilize all or a portion of any 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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