Recognizing and Protecting
Your Company's Intellectual
Companies often fail to protect their valuable intellectual capital because they do not understand that even noncomplex items such as customer lists, names of products, and anticipated marketing plans are protectable. The first step in protecting intellectual property is to identify protectable assets. Once those intellectual capital assets are identified, they can be protected and used to generate income.
Until the 1990s, nearly all business owners could readily point to their company's valuable assets. Those assets usually consisted of real estate, referred to as real property, or durable goods, such as trucks, manufacturing facilities, or equipment, referred to as personal property. The past several years have seen tremendous growth in another type of property that is very different from real or personal property: intellectual property. It is called intellectual property because it is the product of human creativity, thought, and inventiveness. Although much of intellectual property is intangible, it can be more valuable than real or personal property.