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Edison in the Boardroom Revisited: How Leading Companies Realize Value from Their Intellectual Property, Second Edition by Patrick H. Sullivan, Suzanne S. Harrison

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How Companies Can Destroy Value

Very often, companies destroy value they have created simply by not being aware of its worth to their own companies or to others. Harry Gwinnell, Vice President and Chief Intellectual Property Counsel at Cargill, suggests that there are nine possible ways that companies may be destroying business value for themselves through lack of management of their intellectual property.

1. Lack of patents covering company invention or innovation. Often an innovation can set new trends in the industry and, in some cases, establish new standards for the industry. With no IP protection, however, there is no opportunity to be compensated for such a contribution to the industry. Companies in this situation destroy value they have created by leaving money on the table.

2. Lack of protection for trade secrets. Many times one hears managers talk about “trade secrets” and their value to the company. But, when asked about the steps being taken to protect them, one may be informed that there really isn’t an active program for trade secret protection. By not taking active and appropriate steps, the company often ends up giving away some of its important commercial information—information that provides it with a competitive advantage, without being compensated for it. Also, the research dollars invested in those developments, without compensation, go right down the drain. This is a second example of destroying value by not receiving compensation.

3. Not protecting the proprietary ...

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