Not convinced your business has intellectual property that has monetary value? You’re wrong. Every business has valuable intellectual property.
Don’t believe me? If you’re skeptical about the worth of your ideas, innovation, inventions, and intelligence, then I’d like to issue a challenge to you. Ready? Here we go…
The Intellectual Property Value Challenge
I challenge you to give away all of your intellectual property and see what happens to your business.”
That’s right. Tell your competitors they can use your trademarks like your logo, brand names, slogans, and so on. While you’re at it, give them your trade secrets like your customer list, too. Share your product recipes or manufacturing processes on Twitter. Publish the designs for your new product invention on Instagram.
Don’t stop there! Your business has a lot of intellectual property that you probably don’t even realize you have. Take some time to identify all of your intellectual property and be sure to uncover even the most hidden assets. Once you have everything gathered and documented, hand it over to everyone you meet. You can make it easy for yourself and just publish it on Facebook.
Now, sit back and see what happens to your business.
What do you think will happen?
The ramifications will be far-reaching but at the most basic level, you’ll lose your competitive advantage in the marketplace and consumers will be utterly confused about your brands, products, services, and company. Confusion is the #1 brand killer, so ultimately, not protecting your intellectual property can lead to lost sales and business failure.
If your intellectual property hasn’t gained value yet, it will certainly gain value over time. Even the biggest brands in the world had to wait for their intellectual property to increase in value, but they all share one thing in common with your business and every other business—their intellectual property had massive value potential from Day One. However, if you don’t protect your intellectual property right now, you’ll have no chance of building that value.
Let’s take a look at some examples.
- What would happen if the Coca-Cola Company gave up its intellectual property such as its recipe for Coke, its logos, its brand names, its slogans, and its hourglass bottle design?
- What if McDonald’s gave up its logo, name, or Happy Meal box design?
- How about if Apple gave up its research and development secrets, logo, brand names, and product and package designs?
- What if Google gave up its brand names, logos, and algorithms?
We’ve already seen some of the ramifications of intellectual property owned by these companies that is being used illegally. Remember all of the counterfeit Apple products in China? There is a reason why Apple doggedly protects its intellectual property—money. Bottom-line, the company wants to profit from its innovation (and stop others from doing so without permission).
The Very Real Value of Intellectual Property
For the companies listed above, the value of their intellectual property has grown to enormous amounts. According to Forbes’ ranking of the 10 most valuable trademarks, the Google trademark is worth $44.3 billion, which equates to 27% of the company’s market capitalization of $164 billion. The Apple trademark is worth $29.5 billion, which is nearly 10% of the company’s total market capitalization of $307 billion.
Considering that the National Knowledge & Intellectual Property Management Task Force, Centre for Advanced Technologies (USA) estimates that intangible assets (primarily intellectual property) make up 73% of the corporate net worth of companies in the S&P 500, there is really no way to argue against the monetary value of intellectual property. So why aren’t you fully protecting yours?
Here are some more resources to help you understand more about intellectual property value to your business: