Monday, 15 August 2016

Trade secret asset management: a challenge, but not a hopeless one

Secrets: best when well managed
"Trade secret asset management" is a case study by Donal O'Connell (Managing Director, Chawton Innovation Services Ltd) that is worth a read (you can read it in full here). Regular followers of this weblog may recall that Donal has contributed content to it from time to time, and his most notable article is also on trade secrets management: it's "Trade secrets: a round-up of key issues" (here), which we hosted last December.

Since trade secrets represent assets that do not appear on intellectual property registers, that are hard to protect and difficult to assess and value, they represent a major challenge for IP analytics. They also pose particular problems for corporate IP management: they can be frustratingly tricky to identify and define -- and may be incorporated into the knowledge and skills sets of key employees who leave for other companies.

Trade secret management tools do exist, as Donal explains, and make a big difference not just to the degree of competence in terms of corporate management but also in terms of confidence -- when a company feels that it has a firm grip on the issues raised by trade secrecy and can make and implement its decisions on a more secure, better informed basis.

The case study which Donal has posted involves an innovative company headquartered in Europe but with operations in a dozen countries around the world. As he describes it, the company employs approximately 2,600 people worldwide. It is a market leader in its particular sector. The company's IP function is discharged by just seven people, located in offices in different countries but with the support of external law firms -- factors that can also place stress on trade secrecy policy.

This case study shows that trade secrecy asset management is far from being a hopeless task, so long as care and attention are given to proper processes, reportage and documentation. A follow-up warts-and-all case study is hinted at for 2017. We look forward to reading it.

No comments:

Post a Comment