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The following is an extract from my upcoming book, in which I explore the role that IP and intangible assets play in the new economy we’re entering.
I also want to show start-ups how to launch “IP-centric” ventures in which their IP feeds back into the company at all levels.

The global economic meltdown of the early 21st century has left us all poorer. We are left with two options: business as usual, or we reinvent the economy to stop this from happening again.

The good news is, our economy is already being reinvented, whether we’re aware of it or not. We’ve slipped quietly from the Information Age into an economy increasingly dominated by a whole new class of assets: intangible assets and the accompanying intellectual property rights that are used to protect these assets.

Intangible assets arise from human creative endeavor. They typically manifest as business ideas, new techniques, business methods, customer lists, company data, and the like – everything that gives the company the edge it needs to stay competitive and profitable. Some accounting standards have reduced the concept to “everything in an enterprise that isn’t a tangible asset”, but I hope to show that there is more to it than this.

Intellectual Property, commonly referred to as IP, similarly is a term increasingly being bandied about in corporate corridors today. IP can be protected by way of legal rights to intangible assets. These can been formalized as patents, trademarks, trade secrets, design rights, and copyright. Very few start-ups and entrepreneurs understand exactly what this assets class can mean for their businesses and what the enormous impact is that IP has not only on a global and local economic scale, but also on protecting ideas and multiplying profits in their enterprises, which is one of the reasons for writing this book.

To many, it remains a nebulous, obscure legal concept that has little, if any, relevance to everyday life, yet it holds the key to starting up rapidly, keeping competitors at bay, and ensuring sustainable profits, as I hope to show in this book.

A groundbreaking report recently released by the Ocean Tomo group has quantified the effects of intangible assets on our current markets. It showed that more than 80% of the market capitalization of S&P® 500 companies simply cannot be accounted for by tangible, bricks and mortar-type assets. Until the late 1970s, comfortably more than 80% of publicly listed companies’ market capitalization (i.e. the total value of their issued shares) was accounted for by things you could see, feel, and touch – physical, tangible assets.

But this has changed dramatically in less than a generation: intangible assets are changing the face of businesses all over the globe and need to be managed as vigorously, if not more so, than other company assets. When combined with traditional business practices this provides explosive results, and this book aims to translate the secrets of global best practice into a step-by-step guide