Essentials of Intellectual Property: Law, Economics, and Strategy

By Alexander I. Poltorak; Paul J. Lerner | Go to book overview

Introduction:
Setting the Stage

Intellectual Capital, Intellectual Assets,
and Intellectual Property

Intellectual property has become a cliché du jour of the business world. That intellectual property is important is also evidenced by the fact that, of late, everyone is trying to get into the act. Formerly, only patent attorneys used the word intellectual, as in intellectual property. Now, however, we have management consultants speaking of intellectual capital, while accountants and economists write about intellectual assets. Nevertheless, the concepts underlying these terms have significance, and it would be well to understand them.


Intellectual Capital: What They Thought Up

Intellectual capital, in its simplest sense, comprises the sum total of all knowledge in an enterprise. It is what everyone in a firm knows, and what therefore gives the firm its competitive advantage. Intellectual capital includes the knowledge and skills of employees; the processes, ideas, designs, inventions, and technologies utilized by the firm; and the relationships it has developed with both customers and suppliers. It includes software, business methods, manuals, reports, publications, and databases. It includes not only knowledge and information but also the

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