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Task force tackles IP management issues

This article appears in the issue October 1998 [Volume 7, Issue 11]

"Intellectual property (IP) is the genesis of new wealth, and IP management has already become one of the critical strategic competencies for the global competitor," declared Bob Shearer of the Center for Advanced Electronic Imaging (www.caei.org), who is coordinating an ad hoc task force comprised of industry, academic and government leaders.

The task force, chaired by Dr. Claudine Simson, VP of Global External Research and IP at Northern Telecom in Ottawa, met in late August to refine its research to improve the IP management practices in competitive enterprises. The group's initial assessment is that "the ability to create, protect and exploit intellectual property is essential to sustain the viability of the competitive enterprise in the information age."

At its first meeting, the IP task force reviewed the results of the "phase one" research it has developed from focus groups conducted around the country over the past year and from secondary sources and individual interviews. (For an expanded version of this story and a complete list of task force members, see www.kmworld.com/iptaskforce.)

Among the more notable issues identified:

  • A corporation's ability to manage its intellectual property has a direct and increasing effect on its market position and shareholder value. Nearly 76% of the $4.6 trillion value of the Standard & Poor 500 stock index is reflected in intangible assets.
  • Learning among non-legal personnel is one process that can improve the IP management and innovative capabilities of the corporation, but the knowledge and skills required to effectively manage IP require legal leadership and intervention in the project at an early stage.
  • Knowledge management systems mean improved competitiveness. IP creation and protection draw on the technical and business knowledge of the employee. The employee's knowledge of the prior art and the competitors' products and technology provide the framework for efficient creativity. The critical challenge to management is to find better ways to support the individual's creativity and more easily integrate information flow among enterprise users.

The task force will continue its research project by benchmarking corporate practices. Those areas of investigation include the use of knowledge management and learning systems principles to support the creation, protection and exploitation of intellectual property.


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