From a planning and implementing standpoint it’s important to make a distinction between intellectual property, intellectual assets, and intellectual capital. The distinction is typically of little importance in smaller corporations but as a Corporation grows into the top Fortune 500, such large companies sometimes make intellectual asset management a separate silo in their organization’s structure. This is particularly true when there are large numbers of intellectual property and intellectual assets not contributing to operational profit of the corporation. In this case these non-core business assets are often given to a technology transfer / technology asset management unit for disposition.

Neste Technology Asset Management Tools
Neste Technology Asset Management Processes

For many years Dow and Neste Corporations were examples of such organizations that had strong intellectual asset management groups. For Neste the relationship between the R&D/E work and the technology transfer work is shown in the “Neste Technology Asset Management Processes” figure. The tools they used in their work processes are shown in the “Neste Technology Asset Management Tools” figure.

Dow Intellectual Asset Management Processes
Dow Intellectual Asset Management Organization

For comparison, the corresponding relationships between the technology, IAM, commercial, and licensing teams for Dow Corporation are shown in the “Dow Intellectual Asset Management Organization” figure, and the corresponding processes and tools these teams use are shown in the “Dow Intellectual Asset Management Processes” figure.

Because today many corporations are doing a much better job of investing only in activities that generate intellectual property and intellectual assets that directly contribute to the operating profits, the need for separate intellectual asset management groups has waned. The work processes these groups conduct are now usually given over to technical or business development parts of the organization.