Businesses measure value in a myriad of different ways. Client retention, return on investment (ROI), and sales can all be deemed valuable to business owners. Different facets of intellectual property provide incredible value to companies in many different ways. Understanding just how valuable intellectual property is and what it means in the age of COVID-19 can help business owners protect themselves and their work product in future endeavors.
Intellectual property is a broad umbrella term that covers intangible assets owned and legally protected against any outside use or implementation without the consent of the business. Intellectual property consists of many different types of company assets, including trademarks, patents, copyrights, trade secrets, and more.
What Makes Intellectual Property Valuable?
Businesses should be diligent with regard to identifying and protecting intellectual property assets, as they hold incredibly high value in today’s economic climate with reduced traffic to brick and mortar operations. The overall value of intellectual property though has been established well before the new coronavirus or COVID-19. Although it’s an intangible asset, intellectual property can be far more valuable than a physical asset. It often provides a competitive advantage over other entities, making it particularly guarded and protected by those that own it.
An organization with intellectual property assets can assess its value in several different ways, the most common of which is by utilizing it internally or by sharing it externally through royalty rights. When valuing intellectual property, the owner must use measures to protect that value, including:
Copyrights are widely used and refer to a form of protection granted to the authors of original works of authorship, whether published or unpublished. A copyright protects a tangible form of expression – such as a book, written work, artwork, or music – rather than the actual idea or subject matter itself. Copyright protection exists the moment the work is created; however, copyright registration establishes a public record and provides for stronger enforcement against infringers under The Copyright Act of 1976.
Trademarks offer protection not only to brand names and logos, but also to phrases, symbols, smells, colors, tastes, and even distinctive product designs. Google, Apple, Starbucks, and Nike have some of the most recognizable and valuable trademarks today. Trademarks also refer to service marks used to identify services rather than goods. While continued use can establish a trademark without federal registration with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, many benefits come with federal registration, such as a notice to the public of the trademark and exclusive nationwide rights.
Having a patent in place gives its owner the exclusive right to prevent others from making, using, selling, and/or importing or exporting the patented invention. To obtain a patent, an invention must be novel, useful and non-obvious. Compared to other types of intellectual property, patents are among the most valued and the most difficult to obtain.
Items that can be patented include objects or processes such as new technology or methods. Documentation from the applicant coupled with verification of originality by the United States Patent Trademark Office (USPTO) is required before the grant can occur; and, once granted, the patent is then typically valid for 20 years from the date of application. Once received, a patent owner has the option to grant licenses to others to use the item for a fee.
The Value of Intellectual Property Amid COVID-19
As many physical storefronts struggle to keep their doors open and COVID-19 continues to spread, many of the challenges businesses have been facing are magnified. Without intellectual property protection, researchers and businesses would not get proper compensation for their creations. This could ultimately lead to less research and development, which is needed now more than ever during the ongoing pandemic.
COVID-19 has had and will likely continue to have a devastating effect on the economy. Because no one really knows how long the pandemic will continue, businesses race to adopt and/or develop solutions aligned with the coronavirus. And, since businesses contributing directly or indirectly toward the economy during COVID-19 are likely to have an edge over the competition during this time, they need intellectual property attorneys to secure the value of these assets now more than ever. The value of intellectual property will only continue to dominate our digitally-centric society during the pandemic and beyond. And the value is ongoing since intellectual property is an asset that can be licensed, sold, or assigned regardless of whether a company has a physical location.
Houston Commercial Litigation Attorneys
At Feldman & Feldman, we understand just how valuable your businesses assets are to your company. Intellectual property is incredibly important to properly protect during these uncertain times as we continue to move further into a digitally focused landscape. Because of this, disputes over intellectual property are inevitable. If your business is dealing with a dispute regarding its intellectual property assets, having the knowledge of an experienced commercial litigation attorney can help. Contact us today to see how we can best assist you.