of the New Economy
Intellectual property, also known simply as IP, has become one of the most talked about topics in business today, yet it is still one of the least understood. Simply stated, intellectual property consists of products of the human mind and creativity that are protected by law. It is an intangible, lacking physical substance. It has neither length nor width nor height. It has no weight and casts no shadow. It is colorless, odorless, and tasteless.
Like tangible property, intellectual property can be bought, sold, and rented. Also like tangible property, it can be lost or destroyed through carelessness or neglect. It is insurable and could be used as a collateral. It may be the result of a momentary flash of inspiration or years of diligent and painstaking labor. It may be lost in a moment or continue in perpetuity.
Whatever its other characteristics, however, intellectual property does have economic value—often, great economic value—although this value is often overlooked, underestimated, and underreported. In business, it may constitute either an opportunity or a threat, depending (in large part) on who owns it.
It has often been said that “knowledge is power.” Although unsaid, knowledge is also wealth. Indeed, in today's knowledge-based economy, intellectual property is often the single most important asset of an enterprise. Intangible assets now represent almost 75% of the total market