Industrial property protection: insurance for innovation
Throughout this century and particularly in recent decades, intellectual property has come to play a role as a major commercial asset. Turning inventions into innovation and then into sales is a challenge. Sales of products and the provisions of services are heavily dependent on associated trademarks or in the technology embodied therein. Correct patent and trademark policy is a key issue for commercial success and neglecting these intellectual property assets may hamper very seriously a company's ability to compete in the market place. Properly directed, patents and registered trademarks not only play a role in protecting the company's business but often become important tradeable assets by themselves. A well managed patent and trademark strategy is a key factor in ensuring commercial success. A company, in an attempt to maintain its competitive edge, should defend its intellectual property assets vigorously which, as a first step, means obtaining patents and trademarks. However, in order not to risk being stopped at the outset by third parties' patents or trademarks, searching for third parties' rights and manoeuvring between such rights should also be an ongoing endeavour. Effects of a patent examination are security on the one hand and information on the other, both accessible to the public. In addition to this protection function, patents have an information function. Patents are an important output of the innovation process, and monitoring in special subjects is essential. Infringement cases increase in both the number and magnitude of patent cases. One reason for the rise in patent and trademark cases is the evolving view that patents and trademarks by themselves have economic value. Innovation is a key driver of growth. Single product innovations lead to increased revenue in the short run, and by stringing many new products together some companies have been able to turn product innovation into a key to their corporate success. Most organizations generate more ideas than they can handle. Idea portfolio management is the process through which these ideas are elicited, identified, and funded for development. Patent and trademark offices, the chambers of commerce and innovation centres play an important role within these processes and create an awareness of the problems involved.