Your business is operating in an economy based on intangibles – it includes knowledge and intangible assets in the form of intellectual property that you can’t see or touch. But the management tools that worked in the tangible economy, don’t always work in the intangible economy. In fact, you’re tangible management tools are increasingly likely to fail as the markets continue to shift into an intangible economy.

Everyday your business is creating and using intellectual property, and most of your profits are probably generated from your intangible assets.

In a recent survey of the UK business market, the overwhelming majority of CEO’s and Business Owners say IP management is vital to the success of their companies. In addition, they also said managing and monetizing their IP assets is becoming more important. Yet over 60% admitted they did little to maximize their IP income opportunities. Forrester research estimates that US businesses waste over $1 trillion annually by failing to capitalize on the full value of their IP through licensing partnerships.

Intangible assets do not contain the same characteristics as tangible assets. They don’t sit on factory floors, product showrooms, or, for the most part, balance sheets. Unlike hard/tangible assets, which depreciate over time, your IP assets appreciate over time as you invest more into their development and commercialization. Their value is created by the tangible revenues they generate.

To manage your IP assets successfully, you must run with the intangible management tools. You cannot focus only on the legal part of IP. Your management tools must include a range of activities that help to find, secure, monetize, and manage your IP assets to maximize that value. Profit is now a game of out thinking your competitor and less about out producing him. The old business management model designs a product and sells it to generate revenue from one or more distribution channels. The new IP management model uses its intellectual property to extract revenue from the entire market.

IP management and licensing skills are no longer just for some with IP. These are critical skills for today’s business owners, CEO’s, startups and inventors. Imagine what would happen if one of your employees accidentally discloses crucial IP information while updating his/her status on social networking sites. Without providing employees with a basic understanding of IP confidentiality, how can a disclosure of this kind otherwise be controlled?

The rapid pace of changing worldwide economies makes effective IP management and licensing essential tools for the 21st century. Using the right IP management tools are just as important to your business as the right financial or legal tools. Your business IP is your competitive advantage foundation, and using the right management tools are critical to your business’s ongoing survival and growth.

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