- Category: News
- Published Date
- Written by Super User
By Rebecca Burn-Callander
The warning came from companies including BAE Systems
Bosses at some of the world’s most innovative companies, including BAE Systems, Siemens, Philips and Bayer, have warned that intellectual property (IP) is being neglected by the business world, despite representing up to 70pc of a modern company’s value.
Research by patent specialist Aistemos has found that many opportunities are lost and innovation stifled because of systemic IP problems. The majority of respondents claimed that boards in their industries see IP as a cost centre or a risk, with just a fraction admitting that it adds value.
They also stated that most business decisions are being made with a lack of understanding of the relevant IP. When it comes to research and development, collaborations, and even mergers and acquisitions business leaders only “sometimes” have the IP data they need to make an informed decision.
IP is often vital to a company’s future.
Defence giant BAE Systems, for example, currently owns more than 1500 inventions and has filed close to 250 patents per year for the last 5 years, ranging from lasers to augmented reality devices.
The new report highlighted several issues including a lack of transparency over who owns what IP, and a number of incomplete and inaccurate records.
Many businesses accidentally infringe others’ patents while innovation is stymied because companies are unable, or unwilling, to collaborate due to IP risk. Joerg Thomaier, chief executive of IP at Bayer, the life sciences giant, who took part in the research, said: “Greater transparency on the patents covering a product would avoid situations where companies inadvertently infringe our patents. But for this to work, the whole industry will need to embrace the idea, and not all companies are open to greater transparency.”
Aistemos’s report warned that, with no universal method for including IP on the balance sheet, many investors were in the dark about the value of IP. Hywel Ball, a managing partner at professional services giant EY, said: “Given that more than half enterprise value is represented by intangible assets, for some companies up to 80pc, I worry that this value is not being represented by financial statements. This means that when you look at the stock market, the real value of those companies isn’t visible."