Intellectual property represents an essential feature 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 or startup companies. This practical guideline support and bring out the main keys to better IPR management, bearing in mind the maximum impact on the society of science, technology and innovation.

Intellectual Property (IP)

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

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

IP Benefits and advantages

Nowadays in the knowledge, information and economy society, intellectual property is the main mechanism for R&D investment return. Achieving effective legal and strategic protection for research and knowledge results, allows intangible assets generation to strengthen the commercialisation capacity and socio-economic performance of the 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 horizon scanning point of view.
In #MoocVT, you will find more related to the informative value of intellectual property, check Module: Technology Information Management.

Intellectual Property types

In 1967, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) established the scope of the IP protection entity through an international agreement. The different types of IP can be described as follows:

Recently, the WIPO published the Intellectual Property Guide for Startups, with guidelines for illustrating how small businesses can use IP to remain competitive and manage risks.

IP Legal framework

Intellectual property rights are territorial and are subject to a wide variety of treaties and legal issues from the 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. The basis for rules and legislation to establish the minimum granting requirements.

Understanding 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 is 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 to guide effective decision-making.

In addition, there are 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.

IP 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 source 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 are not exclusive to scientists or technical experts, but they provide strategic information to multiple areas of an organisation since it allows 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