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Regulatory burden and cost are barriers to IP exploitation

Seventy-nine per cent of companies in the UK, Germany and France surveyed by
law firm Field Fisher Waterhouse said they thought intellectual property (IP)
was even more important than usual in a downturn and 68% said it was vital to
the growth of their business.

Most respondents ­ 78% ­ also admitted they did not manage these potentially
lucrative assets properly. Just under half the companies surveyed had audited
their IP, while only 52% “have an up-to-date plan” for these assets, which
include copyrighted concepts or products designs, patents and trademarks.

Companies frequently hold an arsenal of IP assets, but a fear of regulatory
complexity and lack of planning and expertise in this field has held them back
from capitalising on them ­ one potential route to new revenue streams at a time
of great pressure on income.

“By increasing understanding of IP within the business, companies can explore
the full range of techniques available to maximise the potential of these
assets, such as licensing, franchising, merchandising, co-marketing and joint
venturing,” says
Field Fisher
corporate partner Neil Foster.

He adds that companies were more comfortable with traditional approaches to
expansion such as subsidiaries and joint ventures at the expense of leveraging
IP in other ways that often cost less and carry less risk.

Protectionism as a means to safeguard existing revenue streams from IP rather
than developing new ones hampers exploitation of these less tangible assets, the
firm concludes.

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