Regardless of the size of its business or the activities in which it is engaged in, intellectual property is an important business asset for every company and an important factor in the development of the company’s competitive strategies. As such, it is essential for companies to implement a compliance program to identify, perfect, protect, maintain and prosecute its own intellectual property rights—patents, trademarks, copyrights and trade secrets—and avoid potential liability for knowingly or inadvertently infringing the intellectual property rights of others. A comprehensive compliance program will require the participation of members of all of the departments and other business groups within the company and the program should be consistent with the company’s overall intellectual property strategy as determined by the board of directors and members of the executive team. The program will include a number of elements, many of which are similar to those that are part of other organizational compliance programs: a coordinating body, such as a compliance committee; an audit or assessment of the company’s current compliance activities relating to intellectual property; policies, procedures and manuals; training and educational initiatives; and continuous review of the effectiveness of the program and ongoing changes to remediate issues and incorporate new laws and regulations and changes in the company’s business activities.
To learn more, download the chapter on “Intellectual Property Compliance Programs and Manuals” presented by the Sustainable Entrepreneurship Project. Additional Project materials on technology management and intellectual property are available here.