Intangible Assets

What are Intangible Assets and why are they so important?

This is the era of the Intangible Economy.
This is the Intangible Age.

The Industrial Age – began in Britain in the 18th and 19th Centuries
The Information Age – is roughly from the 1980’s to 1992.
The Knowledge Economy – started in 1992 and continued to 2002
The Intangible Economy – started in 2002.

Intangible assets are the assets your business possess that are not physical. There are two categories of these assets Intellectual Property and Critical Information (IPCI). These Intangible assets represent over 75% of the value on the balance sheets of publically traded companies. Intangible assets, IPCI, are more valuable than physical property or cash.

What is Intellectual Property?

Intellectual property is any intangible asset that consists of knowledge or know-how. A tangible asset is physical, it has form, it has a creation date, and its location can be described. Tangible assets are created from intangible assets. While this description is as accurate as it can be in its brevity, it can also describe critical information. So, to be more specific, Intellectual property is a concept that includes copyrights, trademarks, service marks, patents, trade secrets and other related rights.

What is Critical Information?

Critical information is specific information about one’s intentions, capabilities, and activities which in the hands of adversaries would allow them to plan and act effectively against your best interests. It is information about your company that competitors could use to make it non-competitive. Critical information can be business plans, marketing plans, product deployment ideas, or travel plans of the employees.

Most companies do a very poor job in the process of the identification of their IPCI. To compound the problems or as a result of the problem, what you do not see as valuable you do not treat as valuable. That which is not valuable to you, you do not protect. Thus, the IPCI leaks out of your business.

We have seen competitors get three years of gross sale from a store – when the owner swore he never disclosed it. It came from the landlord who took a percent of gross sales and happily disclosed to a prospective future renter in the mall. Another company had the entire history of a company, all of its financial, proprietary formulations, trade secrets, correspondences, and chemical designs were done loaded to a 1 terabyte drive and taken by the company’s chief chemist. To drive home the point, a high-tech company lost a copy of its directory . An insider stole the copy and sold it to an executive recruiter in the industry who began trying to recruit away the companies key employees. I am sure the point has been made, intangible assets, IPCI, have concrete value.

We work with companies – especially start-up business and family companies on the identification and protection of these assets. IPCI leaks at a furious pace in most enterprises – especially in high-tech start-up companies. Collaboration is part of the game but full disclosure will damage the IPCI start-ups strive to create. It is about helping you protect what is use and disclosing only what you choose to disclose.

Let us help you. Contact us today.

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