Results from CREATe Leading Practices for IP Protection
Over the last several months, as part of the pilot of CREATe Leading Practices for IP Protection, CREATe has evaluated the IP protection programs of companies drawn primarily from the manufacturing/assembly and electronics industries. As part of the pilot, companies complete an on-line self-assessment to evaluate the maturity of their current IP protection processes in eight key categories. CREATe’s trained experts then provide an independent evaluation of those processes. The maturity of a company’s efforts to protect IP are measured on a scale of 1-5 (5=highest).
Here are some overall highlights from the findings to date on some of the participating companies whose headquarters are located in key Asian countries:
- Participating companies have limited documentation concerning their IP protection processes, with the focus of their documented system being on patent application procedures.
- Companies usually mention protecting IP in their employee manuals, but only briefly and at a very general level.
- Very few companies have developed and implemented procedures for routinely protecting IP.
- Companies are weak in monitoring and taking corrective actions for IP protection, yet they are familiar with the concept from their quality management program.
- Companies are strongest in security and confidentiality management, in part because companies are aware of the need to protect against theft.
- Most companies solely rely on contractual terms to protect IP along their supply chains and manage problems reactively rather than proactively.
- Although they acknowledge the importance of IP protection in their supply chain, most companies do not have a procedure for conducting due diligence on their supply chain members with respect to IP protection.
- Many companies realize the importance of improving their IP protection program and see it as a potential competitive advantage.
Below is a look at the scores from some of the participating Asian-headquartered companies in each of the CREATe Leading Practices categories.
On average, companies’ IP protection systems received evaluation scores lower than their self-assessment scores. After assessing the gap between the overall self-assessment score (3.6) and the overall independent evaluation score (2.7), companies gain tangible awareness that their IP protection program is not as sophisticated as they had thought. They can also better prioritize specific areas for improvement. Additionally, the difference between the highest and lowest scores given by CREATe’s independent evaluators is wide, demonstrating the disparity in system maturity from company to company; some companies understand the urgency of implementing IP protection processes, while others do not.
However, there is growing awareness among the participating Asian-headquartered companies and the governments in the region of the importance of IP protection. This is exemplified by the government of Chengdu promoting itself as the “model city for IP creation and protection” in its recent investment attraction promotion. With the growing threat of intellectual property infringement and theft across all industries, companies must go beyond putting IP protection policies in their manuals. They must implement concrete procedures, and then train their employees and supply chain partners on how to follow them in order to maintain their intellectual property investments and develop a competitive advantage in attracting customers and business partners.
If you are interested in participating or having companies in your supply chain participate, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.