My Pepper Hamilton partner Ray Miller was recently interviewed by WMNY Money Talk 1360 AM of Pittsburgh, PA about the link between intellectual property protection and corporate management strategies. The interview originally aired on Friday, August 5, 2011.
The interview stems from a survey that Ray and our colleague David Smith conducted on behalf of Pepper at the 2011 Bio International Convention. Pepper surveyed CEOs, business development executives and scientists attending BIO’s Biotechnology Entrepreneurship Boot Camp, as well as those attending a dinner event that Pepper hosted. According to survey respondents, technology is just the beginning. Those surveyed felt a life sciences company would have trouble succeeding without both a strong management team and strong intellectual property protection.
I thought that IP Spotlight readers would have an interest in listening to the interview. To listen, link to the Pepper Hamilton website via this link.
When performing due diligence, it often suprises me how often a company claims to have no intellectual property or other intangible assets. However, even a company with no patents, registered trademarks or registered copyrights will have a significant amount of its value tied to intangible assets such as customer and supplier relationships, reputation, and other elements generally associated with goodwill. In my last post, I wrote about preventive actions that a company can take to help manage adverse events that can damage a company’s goodwill. In this post, I’ll discuss actions that a company can take after an adverse event — and hopefully after it took preventive actions — in order to guard against long-term harm to its brand. Continue reading
Last week I had the opportunity to attend the annual meeting of the Intangible Asset Finance Society. The meeting provided a forum for panelists and attendees to share ideas about how a company can best protect its intangible assets. Intangible assets include not only legal assets (patents, trademarks, copyrights, trade secrets) but also other intangible competitive advantages (such as know-how, customer goodwill, and supplier/distributor/collaborative relationships). Various sources have estimated that intangible assets make up between 65 and 80% of the market value of most S&P 500 companies.
One of the most interesting discussions related to actions that companies can take to protect the security of valuable brands. Although registration and enforcement of a trademark is important for brand security, managing the goodwill associated with a brand can be even more important. Goodwill can have many elements: reputation, consumer loyalty, perceived ethical standards, and collaborative relationships all factor into the overall perception of a company’s goodwill.
Goodwill can erode quickly when an adverse event occurs. We’ve all seen examples of recent challenges to corporate goodwill: lead paint on toys, harmful bacteria on produce, external tampering with pharmaceutical packaging, potentially illegal activity by employees, accidental disclosure of customers’ personal information. How well a company recovers its goodwill in such a situation depends in large part on the company’s preparation for such an event.
The panel discussed many actions that a company can take in order to protect its brand security. Recommendations included: Continue reading
In his informative blog for Intellectual Asset Management Magazine, Joff Wild compares recent statistics from the European Patent Office and U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The statistics suggest that companies are currently experiencing a more favorable patent application climate in Europe than in the United States. As Joff writes:
[The data] shows, not unexpectedly, that both applications to the EPO and grants made by the office are both higher than they were in 2005, at 207,300 and 62,780 respectively. Interestingly, although there was a 5% rise in applications, the number of grants increased by 17.9%; this at a time when grants made by the USPTO have been falling daramatically.
When selecting countries in which to seek patent protection, companies often struggle with the cost/benefit analysis for each country. Although factors such as customer locations, competitor locations, and strength of local patent laws are critical in this decision, another factor to consider is how much cost and time it will take to receive the patent. Because the European Patent Office provides a thorough examination process and is trending upward on patent grants, the statistics indicate that European patent filings can add significant value to many intellectual property portfolios.