With almost 500.000 annual trademark applications and reaching 50.000 annual patent applications, Latin America is a region that is increasingly giving importance to the protection of its innovative industries through the systems for Intellectual Property protection. However, as our practice and careful analysis of the IP sector shows, few players in the region seem to have a defined strategy when it comes to managing and profiting from their IP assets.
It seems to be a widely spread assumption, especially among start-ups, that management of IP assets means the mere registration of their trademarks, patents, designs and copyrights. It doesn’t.
A company’s IP assets are some of the most valuable resources for a successful business operation. Well-positioned trademarks allow businesses to have higher prices than the market averages, while remaining competitive (Apple Inc. being a good example of this). Similarly, patents allow a business to gain significant heads-up (a 20 years heads up on most countries) in the exploitation of inventions before being subject to regular market competition. However, is it a common case that trademarks and patents are registered just to be left unexploited or underexploited. In order to avoid this waste of investment in marketing and R&D, any company must have a defined IP strategy. And what do we mean by this?:
– An IP asset ultimate goal is one and one only: profits. With the sole exception of NGO’s and government authorities, any investment in marketing (trademarks) or R&D (patents) should result in a competitive advantage and an increase in revenue. If your investment in IP assets is not being directly reflected on your business’ income, you are doing something wrong.
– In order to know how much are you winning or losing with your investment on IP assets, you first need to know:
- How much are your IP assets worth, which can only be achieved through an adequate valuation of those.
- How much and how are you investing on these assets. 3. How does their value change over time.
It is only when IP assets are reflected in figures and a company’s managers are aware that investment on R&D and marketing are reflected on the value of the company’s assets that you can start discussing strategies for managing them. For the most part, it is the lack of knowledge about the values of IP assets that has driven Latin American private-sector investment in R&D to such low levels.
– It is more than just legal work. In order to have a successful IP-management strategy, financial, creative and legal considerations must be taken.
With an ever greater conviction that the boom of Latin American IP is soon to come, at B&R Latin America we are making sure that we are ready to provide not only cross-border management of IP assets, but also comprehensive and inter-disciplinary advisory on how to turn a protected IP asset into a profitable one.