In­tel­lec­tual prop­erty

Element - - Business -

In­tel­lec­tual prop­erty (IP) de­ci­sions will be made on a caseby-case ba­sis, but there are some good rea­sons for in­sur­ing your IP is pro­tected over and above prevent­ing com­peti­tors from copy­ing your prod­ucts, tech­ni­cal pro­cesses or ser­vices. IP pro­tec­tion can also help you cre­ate a cor­po­rate iden­tity through a brand­ing strat­egy; ne­go­ti­ate li­cens­ing, fran­chis­ing and other IP-based con­trac­tual agree­ments; in­crease the mar­ket value of the busi­ness; ac­quire ven­ture cap­i­tal and en­hance ac­cess to fi­nance; and ob­tain ac­cess to new mar­kets.

Re­cently th­ese has been some no­table ex­cep­tions to the rule. Tech su­per­star Elon Musk’s an­nounce­ment that he is mak­ing the IP for his Tesla elec­tric ve­hi­cles avail­able to his com­peti­tors was unusual – whether that works out for the bet­ter or worse for his com­pany only time will tell. “Tesla Mo­tors was cre­ated to ac­cel­er­ate the ad­vent of sus­tain­able trans­port. If we clear a path to the cre­ation of com­pelling elec­tric ve­hi­cles, but then lay in­tel­lec­tual prop­erty land­mines be­hind us to in­hibit oth­ers, we are act­ing in a man­ner con­trary to that goal,” said Musk.

Change agency Bor­der­less Pro­duc­tions man­ag­ing direc­tor Dean Easter­brook also points that so­cial move­ments are of­ten char­ac­terised by open-source IP. He points to the ‘It’s Not OK’; anti-vi­o­lence campaign, which has had high vis­i­bil­ity through­out the coun­try. “Peo­ple con­cerned about vi­o­lence can tai­lor that campaign through the on­line tool­kits and re­sources to meet the needs of their own com­mu­nity. For ex­am­ple in Paeroa they have ‘It’s Not OK’ posters up which fea­ture the head boy of the lo­cal school and the guy from the ser­vice sta­tion.”

A highly effective mar­ket­ing model, the ‘It’s Not OK’ campaign is a les­son on how to achieve broad vis­i­bil­ity which can be ap­plied to so­cial en­ter­prises. “The ques­tion is: how do you get peo­ple to see them­selves in your campaign?” says Bor­der­less CEO Qi­u­jing Wong.

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