Intellectual property represents an essential element for technology intelligence, as well as a key stage in technology transfer and innovation management. Increasingly, its protection and registration enable the development of technology-based firms. These practical guidelines support and bring out the main keys to better IPR management, bearing in mind the maximisation of science, technology and scientific knowledge impact of the organisation onto the society.

Intellectual Property (IP)

Intellectual property refers to mind (intellectual) creations, such as inventions; artistic and literary works; designs and symbols, names and images used in commerce. The IP right is granted by the State for a certain period of time, for the use or exploitation of inventions or innovations industrially and commercially.

The registration of an IP asset allows an exploitation monopoly in the market, but at the same time, there are some obligations to IP holders. For instance, public disclosure, that is an important issue for technology intelligence.

Benefits and advantages

Nowadays knowledge, information and economy society, make the intellectual property the main mechanism of R&D investment return. Achieving effective legal and strategic protection for research and knowledge results allows intangible assets generation with which to strengthen commercialisation capacity and socio-economic performance of R&D within an organisation. These intangible assets are fundamental to achieve:

  • contractual intellectual property agreements based on IP assets
  • exploitation granting licenses
  • economic transactions based on licenses and strategic alliances

Besides, patents, trademarks or industrial designs databases make available to users a wealth of technology and commercial information, a matter of vital importance to be up-to-date from the monitoring and scanning point of view.
In #MoocVT, you will find more on the informative value of intellectual property, check Module: Technology Information Management.

Intellectual Property types

The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) established in 1967 the protection entity scope through its international agreement. The different types can be described as follows:

IP Legal framework

Intellectual property rights are territorial and are subject to a wide variety of treaties and legal issues typical of national, community and international laws. Most of them are coordinated by WIPO and are accessible through its WIPO Lex tool.

  • National laws. Each country through its Technical Office is in charge of the IPR management in the country. The main duties are administrative and technical issues related to IP grants, requirements and litigations.
  • International laws. Provide common procedures and facilitate supranational protection with tools such as “national treatment” and the establishment of a common concession process.
  • Framework agreements. Foundations for rules and legislation to establish the minimum concession requirements.

To understand correctly the IP legal framework is key to carry out a suitable technology intelligence process. For example, the validity of each industrial property title covers the territory for which it is granted, and maybe of the public domain in those countries where its protection was not requested. Therefore, it is crucial to know IP Offices, monitor databases and take advantage of the intelligence reports and newsletters produced to guide effective decision-making.

In addition, there are support programs such as the Latin America IPR SME Helpdesk to help companies identifying the legal framework for intellectual property rights in each country and support the impact on business internationalisation.

IPR information value

Increasingly, organizations’ ability to innovate is closely linked to the ability to access and take advantage of the IP informational value. Information sources, such as patents, trademarks, industrial designs or utility models, represent the most complete and up-to-date dissemination mean for technology intelligence. Usually, they are published in international standard documents which are freely accessible through specialised databases, managed by IP offices. Moreover, the IP information contents is not exclusive to scientists or technical experts, but they provide strategic information to multiple areas of an organisation since they allow knowing commercial, legal, financial and prospective information, apart from its technical value.

The Technology Intelligence Guide brings fundamental clues about strategic information resources. More information: #MoocVT Module 2: “Technology information management

References: MIT IP guide