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Management of Intellectual Assets by Organisations

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Management of Intellectual Assets by Organisations


Intellectual assets, in a broad term of definition is defined as “intangible assets, such as knowledge, know-how, copyrights, patents, brands, trademarks and information, IPR (Intellectual Property Rights) of an organisation”. While the definition of intellectual assets is unsophisticated, a further elaboration on the meaning of “intangible assets” rationalized the importance of this insubstantial but highly important asset in today’s business perspective.

Intangible assets are defined as those non-monetary assets that cannot be seen, touched or physically measured and which are created through time and/or effort. There are two primary forms of intangibles:

1. legal intangibles (such as trade secrets (e.g., customer lists), copyrights, patents, trademarks, and goodwill) and

2. competitive intangibles (such as knowledge activities (know-how, knowledge), collaboration activities, leverage activities, and structural activities).

Legal intangibles generate legal property rights defensible in a court of law. Competitive intangibles, whilst legally non-own able, directly impact effectiveness, productivity, wastage, and opportunity costs within an organization - and therefore costs, revenues, customer service, satisfaction, market value, and share price.

Human capital is the primary source of competitive intangibles for organisations today. Competitive intangibles are the source from which competitive advantage flows, or is destroyed.

To understand the management of intellectual asset relationship of the elements connected with the term intellectual asset need to be understood correctly. The following Diagram; describes the associations between intellectual asset and its others intangible asset “siblings” mentioned above.

Diagram 1 – Souce ICM Group USA

Diagram 1 can be further explained in a simplified diagram 2 Below below, which shows that intellectual assets is a vital component of Intellectual Capital – which defined as knowledge that can be exploited for some money-making or other useful purpose. The term combines the idea of the intellect or brain-power with the economic concept of capital, the saving of entitled benefits so that they can be invested in producing more goods and services.

Diagram 2

Intellectual capital can include the skills and knowledge that a company has developed about how to make its goods or services; individual employees or groups of employees whose knowledge is deemed critical to a company's continued success; and its aggregation of documents about processes, customers, research results, and other information that might have value for a competitor that is not common knowledge.

1. NDA - Nondisclosure Agreement

According to Wikipedia’s Glossary of legal terms in computer technology, NDA or Nondisclosure Agreement is defined as “An agreement not to give certain information to others.” NDA (often known outside of the United States as a confidentiality agreement; occasionally called a confidential disclosure agreement or CDA, or secrecy agreement), is a legal contract between at least two parties that outlines confidential materials or knowledge the parties wish to share with one another for certain purposes, but wish to restrict from generalized use. In other words, it is a contract through which the parties agree not to disclose information covered by the agreement. An NDA creates a confidential relationship between the parties to protect any type of trade secret. As such, an NDA can protect non-public business information.

NDAs are commonly signed when two companies or individuals are considering doing business and need to understand the processes used in each others business solely for the purpose of evaluating the potential business relationship. NDAs can be "mutual", meaning both parties are restricted in their use of the materials provided, or they can only restrict a single party.

It is also possible for an employee to sign an NDA or NDA-like agreement with a company at the

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