Intellectual property plays a key role in the LED industry

Oct. 15, 2007
The identification, management and protection of valuable intellectual property - potentially with the involvement of licensing programs - is a crucially important activity, explains Paul Kallmes.
It almost goes without saying nowadays that the management of intangible assets (and their codified forms, intellectual property (IP)) has become an essential strategic consideration in virtually every industry. Whether you manufacture heavy machinery, write code, or star in your own movies, you have an obligation to protect the value of your products and business.
Modern IP management techniques provide a powerful set of tools and practices to grow and protect these critical assets. While intangible assets can be embodied in many forms - patents, trademarks, copyrights, trade secrets, and so on - this discussion will focus on the most commonly considered form of IP, patents. However, the astute IP manager will do a thorough inventory to identify all sources of potentially valuable IP in his own sphere, and protect them accordingly. Intangible assets are strategic assets, and must be treated as such.

The last few years have seen modern management practices being developed for, and applied to, intellectual property. Portfolio management has grown from hodge-podge internal collections of electronic documents and spreadsheets into dedicated software platforms. Search capabilities have grown substantially. Valuation methodologies of various stripes (and reliability) have proliferated for transactions such as M&A.

Last but certainly not least, the investment community has recently taken a strong interest in IP as a source of potential value, whether through portfolio creation, consolidation, licensing, or assertion. There has been much attention placed on so-called "patent trolls" (see footnote): while that is a topic for another time, it is worth noting that indiscriminate use of that label can hinder legitimate IP management, and should be used sparingly.


This article was published in the September/October 2007 issue of LEDs Magazine.

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