Strategic Imperative of Intellectual Property Management


In an era defined by swift global economic transformations propelled by technological advancements and internet ubiquity, the world has truly become a “Global Village.” Everyday technologies such as smartphones and internet banking have not only permeated our daily lives but have also underscored the pivotal role of intellectual property (IP) in driving innovation and economic value.

The Collective Interest in Innovation

Innovation… the carrying out of new combinations… is the key to entrepreneurial profits…. [Innovation] is the only way to create new economic value over the long term.

A. Schumpeter

Companies in developed nations increasingly focus on research and development, as well as marketing and sales, as primary sources of competitive advantage. The assets they hold—ranging from technologies to designs and brands—have become the bedrock of their valuation. Yet, this paradigm shift poses challenges, with the risk of competitors appropriating knowledge at a fraction of the cost.

To incentivize companies to undertake financial risks in developing new products or knowledge, a robust system for protecting intellectual property is indispensable. Without such safeguards, innovators are left vulnerable, facing competitors who can replicate their creations at significantly lower costs.

The Imperative for Intellectual Property Management

Traditionally, intellectual property has been confined to the realm of legal practitioners. However, as IP becomes an increasingly critical determinant of a company’s worth, the responsibility for IP decisions can no longer be relegated solely to legal or technology departments. Managers, seeking visibility and control over IP-related matters, grapple with questions that extend beyond legal purview, demanding comprehensive understanding and strategic responses.

The integration of IP management into broader business strategy is non-negotiable. As intangibles, including intellectual property, emerge as a distinct asset class, investment institutions direct funds towards these assets. This underscores the urgency for companies to craft strategies that not only strengthen existing industries but also dynamically respond to competitors, capitalizing on lead times.

The Crucial Role of Intellectual Property Management

Mark Getty’s analogy of intellectual property as the “oil of the 21st century” aptly captures its paramount importance in contemporary business dynamics. Intellectual property is undeniably the asset of this century. In today’s competitive landscape, managers must grasp the significance of Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) in shaping overall business objectives and must institute a robust Intellectual Property Management (IPM) strategy aligned with these goals.

A well-constructed IPM strategy not only protects the organization’s intellectual assets but also stimulates and captures creativity within the company, fostering an environment of innovation.


The establishment of Intellectual Property Management as a distinct discipline, separate from legal practices, is necessitated by profound shifts in global equity markets. While traditional components of competitive advantage endure, the emphasis has shifted towards those who can innovate through novel combinations.

IPM transcends the mere safeguarding of knowledge; it involves identifying and seizing optimal market opportunities. It is a critical success factor that intertwines legal protection with a nuanced understanding of a firm’s size, knowledge, technology, industry dynamics, and the legal landscape of the operating country. Intellectual property, constituting a substantial portion of companies’ market value, demands active management as a core competency for successful enterprises. In this age of relentless innovation and information, intellectual property emerges not merely as a legal concept but as a strategic asset, capable of delineating the trajectory of success in the 21st century.


[1] J. A. Schumpeter, “The Theory of Economic Development” English translation, 1934.