Management Systems: Not Just for Quality, Health and Safety

June 25, 2014
Categories: Intellectual Property, Intellectual Property Protection

By Craig Moss, COO,

If your company has systems in place to address quality, health and safety, meet ISO standards or address other issues, your company is well positioned to implement an effective IP protection and/or anti-corruption program.

At, we often talk about the ‘management systems approach’ to IP protection and anti-corruption.

What exactly is a management system? In short, a management system is comprised of ‘trained, committed people routinely following procedures.’

For IP protection, this means that there are company policies in place that cover all aspects of IP protection; and then practical procedures that employees are trained on and follow to comply with the policies. For example, if the policy states, the ‘Company shall actively protect its own intellectual property,’ the associated procedures to that policy could include restricting access to confidential information, ensuring employees and contractors are signing non-disclosure agreements and training is routinely conducted on IP protection.

In our recent pilot program for CREATe Leading Practices for IP Protection, and CREATe Leading Practices for Anti-Corruption, we found that most companies tend to address these issues via a legal approach – contracts, actions after an incident, etc. This approach is still essential; however we recommend building upon it by implementing business processes so that everyone in a company is aware of their role in IP protection or anti-corruption and knows what to do.

Management Systems at a Glance

Starting in the 1950s, companies began to realize they could not improve quality without measuring and analyzing their business processes. From this thinking, the ‘Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) cycle of continual impovement was developed.

Business process improvement and the PDCA cycle has been at the heart of changes ranging from improved quality in manufacturing to reducing the time-to-market for new products.

Applying Business Process Improvement to IP Protection and Anti-Corruption

The Center for Responsible Enterprise and Trade ( has taken these principles and developed management-systems based programs for both IP protection and anti-corruption.

What are the elements of an effective program? Both IP protection and anti-corruption should include:

  • Policies, Procedures and Records
  • Compliance Team
  • Scope & Quality of Risk Assessment
  • Management of Supply Chain
  • Training and Capacity Building
  • Monitoring and Measurement
  • Corrective Actions and Improvements

IP protection has one additional process category:  Security and Confidentiality Management.

As a first step, you should assess your systems based on these categories and look to seek improvements where you identify vulnerabilities. offers a range of resources, including a three-step program – CREATe Leading Practices – to help companies assess current systems and then develop and implement better systems to protect IP and prevent corruption. Learn more or request a demo.

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