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Intellectual Property as a Business Asset

Corporate asset can be classified as either tangible – which consists of buildings, machinery, inventory, and infrastructure – or intangible – including workforce, patents, business methodologies, trademarks, designs, and other nonphysical creations and renovations.

Traditionally, tangible asset has been the main contributor to company value and to corporate competitiveness in the market. Recent years, however, have witnessed changes. Thanks to the development of information technology and of the service industries, enterprises are starting to recognize the full potential of intangible asset, whose value can surpass that of tangible asset when employed effectively. For example, inventories and factories are gradually being replaced by softwares and patents, which are now the main revenue of large international corporations. Even in traditional industries where tangible products still maintain a crucial role, renovation and creativity have become the key to better competition, whether in domestic or in international markets. Thus, small and medium enterprises should give due consideration to, and find a way to utilize, their own intangible asset.

An important step in the process is to secure legal protection of intangible asset and maintain patents, if conditions of eligibility are met. Intellectual property rights can be claimed for the following types of asset:

  1. Creative products and processes (protected by invention and utility solution patents);
  2. Cultural, artistic, and literary works (including computer softwares and database in selected countries) (protected by copyrights);
  3. Creative designs, including fashion designs (protected by industrial design rights);
  4. Trademarks (protected by trademark rights, either as individuals or as corporations; in some case geographical indication is applied);
  5. Integrated circuits (under integrated circuit layout design protection);
  6. Certain products whose quality or reputation pertains to a specific geographical location (protected by geographical indication);
  7. Trade secrets (under trade secret protection).