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Intellectual Property Strategy

John Palfrey

Publication Year: 2011

How a flexible and creative approach to intellectual property can help an organization accomplish goals ranging from building market share to expanding an industry.

Published by: The MIT Press

Series: MIT Press Essential Knowledge


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p. 1-1

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. 2-7


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pp. vii-viii

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Series Foreword

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pp. ix-11

The MIT Press Essential Knowledge series presents short, accessible books on need-to-know subjects in a variety of fields. Written by leading thinkers, Essential Knowledge volumes deliver concise, expert overviews of topics ranging from the cultural and historical to the scientific and technical. In our information...

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pp. xi-xiii

I have written this book in two related, yet distinct, formats. As a conventional matter, this book might be read in the printed form that you now hold in your hands. This is, purposely, a short book, designed to give you a primer on intellectual property strategy in no more time that it takes...

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pp. xv-17

I owe thanks to a great team of collaborators. June Casey, my colleague at Harvard Law School, has proven to me, yet again, how important truly great librarians are, especially in a digital era. June provided substantive and editorial advice on both the main text and the online materials, including the case studies...

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1. Introduction: The Self-Limiting Myth of the Sword and the Shield

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pp. 1-16

In conventional wisdom, intellectual property strategy is about the sword and the shield. As a sword, intellectual property can be used to attack a competitor who seeks to exploit some aspect of your intellectual property in a way that violates your rights. As a shield, intellectual property can help you to stave...

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2. Why Intellectual Property Matters

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pp. 17-34

Intellectual property is not a legal backwater best left by CEOs to their lawyers at a big outside law firm. It is at the core of what drives businesses and many other types of organizations forward. Every institution holds intellectual property of varying degrees of importance to the fulfillment of its...

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3. Recommendation 1: Treat Intellectual Property as a Core Asset Class

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pp. 35-57

Intellectual property is an asset class. You need to treat it that way. When it comes to evaluating the value of your organization’s assets, your intellectual property is just as important as other forms of property. If you run a nonprofit, you still may keep a balance sheet that classifies your assets...

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4. Recommendation 2: Benefit from the Intellectual Property of Others — Legally

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pp. 59-75

The second recommendation is: be open and alert to what your customers, competitors, and others can offer you in terms of intellectual property. One of the big changes in intellectual property is the fast growth of possibilities for building your business in part on the intellectual property of others...

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5. Recommendation 3: Create Freedom of Action through Intellectual Property

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pp. 77-85

The third recommendation is: start with the premise that intellectual property is most valuable insofar as it creates freedom of action for your organization rather than as an offensive weapon against others. In doing so, recognize also the extent to which your brand may be wrapped up in your intellectual property. This...

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6. Recommendation 4: Establish a Flexible Intellectual Property Strategy

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pp. 87-108

Now you’ve got a handle on your growing intellectual property portfolio. You’ve gotten each of your key, creative employees to sign well-crafted employment agreements. Your portfolio includes a slew of patents, many copyrighted works, many trade secrets, and a few crucial trademarks and service...

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7. The Special Case of the Nonprofit

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pp. 109-123

While this book has been written for the senior managers of any type of organization, most of the examples come from the business context. Businesses have tended to think more about their intellectual property than nonprofits have in the past. It’s a mistake for most nonprofits...

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8. Future Outlook

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pp. 125-142

The fast pace of change is one of the main characteristics of the intellectual property field. The single most important thing you can do as a CEO or senior manager is to ensure that your strategy is dynamic and forward-looking. Now that you have your asset class established with...

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9. Afterword: What the Author Really Thinks

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pp. 143-146

Throughout this book, I’ve made an argument that is entirely practical. I think that it is right for organizations, whether non- or for-profit ones, to explore a range of intellectual property strategies because I believe it will help your organization achieve its own goals. I maintain that...


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pp. 147-150


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pp. 151-157

Recommended Reading

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pp. 159-163

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About the Author

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pp. 165-183

John Palfrey is the Henry N. Ess III Professor of Law as well as vice dean for library and information resources at Harvard Law School. He is also faculty codirector of the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University (http://cyber.law.harvard.edu), and a venture executive at Highland Capital...


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pp. 167-172

Case Studies

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pp. CS-1-191

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Collegiate Licensing

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pp. CS-3-CS-9

Intellectual property accounts for about 40 percent of the net asset value of all corporations in the United States.1 One method of extracting value from these assets is by entering the licensing market for trademarks and copyrights, which involves a hundred billion dollars globally per year. The potential of this market...

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Follow-On Biologics

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pp. CS-11-CS-17

The rise of generic pharmaceuticals has resulted in large price reductions as well as numerous opportunities for large and small drug companies. Now, provisions in the new comprehensive health care law combined with a wave of patent expirations on major biologics are opening the door to companies...

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pp. CS-19-CS-24

Whether you call it crowdsourcing, open innovation, or the wisdom of crowds, the collaborative approach to innovation is becoming a force.1 Businesses, individual inventors, and government bodies are increasingly employing the tactic. After having set aside any sense of paranoia about protecting their intellectual property...

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Museum Licensing

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pp. CS-25-CS-31

Given that intellectual property accounts for about 40 percent of the net asset value of all corporations in the United States, for-profit entities have frequently had to contend with issues related to it.1 Still, nonprofits with a connection to knowledge and ideas, such as museums, can also benefit...

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pp. CS-33-CS-39

The stories of Apple and RIM provide examples of the benefits of a smart intellectual property strategy as well as the litigious nature of the smartphone industry. An increasingly crowded smartphone market is also raising the attractiveness of the patent-licensing business model...

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Starbucks versus Ethiopia

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pp. CS-41-CS-47

Each year, the world produces about seven million tons of coffee.1 Together, we drink five hundred billion cups of coffee annually.2 The profit potential from this massive coffee trade are obvious. The money to be gained (or lost) as a result of the intellectual property strategies employed by the multinational...

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University Technology Commercialization

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pp. CS-49-CS-57

The patenting of university research can be big business. In 2007, technology-licensing revenues generated by the top-ten universities alone accounted for nearly $1.5 billion.1 This impressive revenue was built on a strong foundation of university-based research...

Notes to Case Studies

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pp. CS-59-CS-71

E-ISBN-13: 9780262302890
E-ISBN-10: 0262302896
Print-ISBN-13: 9780262516792
Print-ISBN-10: 0262516799

Page Count: 192
Publication Year: 2011

Series Title: MIT Press Essential Knowledge