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The value of protecting intellectual property

Many businesses owe their success to the fact they recognised and established ownership of a particular innovation early.

More commonly, businesses that develop new or improved products initially fail to appreciate the value of applying early for a patent, trade mark or registered design.

The protection of, or even the mere act of applying to protect, your intellectual property rights can deter potential competitors from copying a product or process. This can be of immeasurable value to a business as it provides a window of opportunity enabling profit margins to be maintained and sales to be maximised.

A business that protects its intellectual property can profit by selling it or licensing others to use it. A business which does not have the means to engage in research and development may profit from a licence permitting it to exploit the intellectual property of another. Many successful companies today are seen to be innovative simply by buying in new technology under licence.

If there is no monopoly over a particular innovation (such as conferred by patent, design registration, plant variety right or registered trade mark), the innovation is more likely to be copied by others, and will be of considerably less value to a prospective licensee or a purchaser of the business. An unprotected innovation is also more difficult to license or assign and the securing of appropriate rewards harder to achieve.

The transfer and licensing of intellectual property is discussed in the Commercialisation section of our website.