In the global economy, companies are becoming reliant on intellectual property and other intangible assets to help drive their business and generate growth. Many of the world’s established powers are attempting to transition toward innovation economics. The US, for example, is still the world’s largest economic power; but, according a recent report from Bloomberg, it is only the eighth most innovative economy. South Korea was named most innovative country for the third year in a row, with Germany continuing its three-year rise up to second place. The US is now taking steps to try to position itself as the world’s most innovative economy. In October 2015, the Obama administration released its Strategy for American Innovation. The strategy, which erroneously portrays the US as being “the world’s most innovative economy”, suggests that the country cannot neglect its obligations where it comes to investment in research and development.

This greater focus on patents, intellectual property and innovation means that companies must also prioritise the protection of their intangible assets wherever possible. IP and patent losses cost companies millions of dollars every year. Patent theft, infringement or other types of dispute are cause for concern.

For many companies, patent disputes have become an unfortunate fact of life. This is particularly true for businesses operating in the tech and pharmaceutical industries. Though patent disputes certainly arise in other industries, these sectors are the most likely to encounter them.

Apr-Jun 2016 issue

Richard Summerfield