Learn to identify your intangible assets

Written by Manisha Gupta | Updated: Mar 31 2011, 07:38am hrs
Today, a companys innovation potential or brand value determines its competitive edge more than its factories or machines.

In other words, a company's intangibles carry more weight today than its tangibles.

These intangible assets are actually part of one's intellectual property or IP. For an SME, right from the business plan to the new product to the brand, everything comes within the ambit of IP. SMEs must use IPRs such as trade marks, industrial designs or petty patents as tools to sharpen their competitive edge in the market. Intellectual property rights will aid value creation in an enterprise, and incentivise further innovation, thus, generating more IP and more value for future use.

However, for identifying one's IP and establishing a rights over it, training is very crucial. Unless an enterprise knows it has an IP, or what kind of IP it has, it definitely cannot even protect it, leave alone leverage it for business gain.

Training on IPR comprises awareness creation, sensitisation and teaching of the discipline across an enterprise. Actually, IPR training is an ongoing, stage-wise process and theres always more to learn as one crosses over from one level to the next.

The government has come up with schemes and programmes to spread IPR awareness in specific sectors. Under the 'National Manufacturing Competitiveness Programme', theres a scheme for building awareness on IPRs among MSMEs.

The counterfeit goods market is growing at an alarming rate in India, thanks to poor awareness about IP issues within enterprises. Even in traditional artisanal clusters, fake products abound and are a source of unfair trade balancesproducers of original goods live in penury while those making duplicates mint money. Specifically, the handicrafts and handloom clusters face the counterfeit threat, whether it is from neighbouring China or from their own fellowmen.

IPR training is one aspect that can definitely change the future of small enterprises, It is high time SMEs realised how critical is an IP infrastructure for their growth.

The writer is an IPR trainer and consultant

email: ipmanisha@rediffmail.com