The 2011 Intellectual Property Survey Report, produced by Liberty International Underwriters and Marsh, provides valuable insight into how business leaders approach intellectual property (IP) and, specifically, how they view IP as a source of risk.
The survey found that IP is important to businesses regardless of their size. There were obvious differences of opinion among small and medium enterprises and larger companies.
A clear majority of companies surveyed deemed protecting IP rights important and viewed IP as an incentive to innovation.
While overall the survey found that trade secrets were rated as the most important IP, followed by trademark and patents, the survey found several differences of opinion among U.S. and European companies.
For example, U.S. companies value patents greater than their European counterparts. Trademarks, though, are much more highly valued in Europe than in the United States. And small and medium size companies value patents more than larger companies. While the perceived power of brand was important among all companies surveyed, larger companies found brand to be more important than their smaller counterparts as well as private businesses.
When asked the question about the value of intangible assets to the company, a high number of risk management and insurance professionals could not ascertain the rough percentage contribution of intangible assets to their businesses. This raises a question: Are intangible assets not insured or risk managed to the same degree as tangible assets?
Overall, the topic of IP and intangible assets is becoming increasingly important to businesses around the globe. Whether companies move toward more active management of IP risk remains to be seen though.
The report also attempted to gauge how important respondents viewed the significance of IP risk over the next 18 months. There were clearly split opinions about the significance of IP in this period. Although 74% of respondents believed that IP would have some significance to the business, this was pretty equally split between those who deemed it very significant, fairly significant and not very significant.
This section also explored the long-term future of IP insurance. Respondents were asked, “If you have never purchased IP insurance to transfer the financial risk of having to defend the company from IP infringement litigation, enforce your IP rights or protect its value, would you consider purchasing it in the future?” A significant 54.5% stated that they would consider purchasing the cover in the future.