Businesses are failing to maximise the value derived from their intellectual assets, according to intellectual asset management firm Watermark.
Karen Sinclair, a patent and trade marks attorney, said this problem can be resolved through the use of Intellectual Asset Management (IAM), which she describes as a "holistic approach" to extracting full value from a business's knowledge base.
Watermark is pioneering IAM in Australia and has launched a new brand based on IAM practices.
According to Chris Line, CEO of Watermark, the launch signals the start of a new era for the firm, which boasts a 150-year history as a boutique intellectual property firm.
"As IP experts, we are surrounded by innovative clients, and that has inspired us to become innovators ourselves. The new Watermark is focused on making intellectual asset management a core part of our client's business," said Line.
"IAM runs a health check on a company's current innovation processes while creating a broader picture of the company's business landscape. With this ground work done, recommendations can then be made on what assets are worth protecting, the best way to go about it and how to make that innovation or brand work harder and smarter for you."
According to Sinclair, IAM goes beyond patents and trademarks and is integral to a company's business strategy, encouraging the business to think about how intellectual assets can be used for commercial benefit.
"Intellectual assets can account for more than 80 percent of a company's value. Yet the majority of these companies don't have a management program in place to ensure they are getting the most out of those assets," said Sinclair.
Intellectual assets include traditional intellectual property rights such as patents, trademarks and designs, as well as unregistered rights such as copyright, trade secrets, contractual arrangements with clients, suppliers and staff, databases, customer lists, and the equity in a company's brand.
Human experience, knowledge, skills, creativity, ideas and innovation are also part of the intellectual asset portfolio and a company's value.
As a business strategy, said Sinclair, IAM has gained significant traction overseas as companies begin to understand how they can get the most from their intellectual asset portfolio.
"In a knowledge-based economy, we've seen increasing recognition of the value of innovation and intellectual assets as drivers of growth and providers of a sustainable competitive advantage," she said. "But many Australian companies are lagging behind."