Thursday, 26 May 2011

Pioneering Association Champions Intellectual Property in Business

Top figures from corporates and professional services, including IP services company Coller IP, have come together to form a new association championing intellectual property (IP) from a business perspective.

The International IP Strategists Association (INTIPSA) is a professional association serving the community of intellectual property strategists worldwide. INTIPSA provides a unique forum for chief intellectual property officers (CIPOs), chief technology officers (CTOs), IP consultants, investors and others to develop best practice in IP strategy and management, share their knowledge and experience, and build their careers.

Dr Jackie Maguire, CEO, Coller IP, which offers a full range of specialist IP services, is one of the founder members of INTIPSA, and is the Association’s co-chair. She commented, “INTIPSA has been borne of the desire to raise the profile of IP strategy in business. This is very much an emerging field and we believe there is a real opportunity to build a vibrant international body that provides a voice for those involved in commercial strategies related to IP.”

INTIPSA aims to raise awareness of the value of IP strategy in business; allow professionals to improve their knowledge and skills; and promote excellence and professionalism within the IP strategy community. It will also provide an international marketplace for IP strategy services.

Meeting an Emerging Need
Intellectual assets – which include aspects such as brands and corporate know-how – are something that all businesses should be concerned about, not just technology companies holding patents. With knowledge and information now major drivers of the global economy, more and more companies are coming to recognise the management of IP as a function distinct from day-to-day IP protection.

They also appreciate the strategic role of IP and other intangibles in building and maintaining competitive advantage. From multinationals to start-ups, companies in all countries and sectors are focusing on the role of intellectual property in building business value.

IP strategists are found in a wide variety of roles, like CIPOs, CTOs, and VPs for research in corporates and start-ups, as well as in-house IP counsels. This area is also of interest to professional and advisory services, including strategy consultants, IP attorneys and IP lawyers, specialist brokers & valuers, venture capitalists, and corporate and angel investors.

A One-Stop-Shop?
Membership of INTIPSA means being part of a global network and think-tank for IP strategists, providing an international perspective in a field that transcends national boundaries. CIPOs, entrepreneurs and others will be able to develop new business relationships and partnerships. They will also have access to tools and resources to help them grow their businesses, and case studies and best practice guides on how to achieve IP strategy excellence.

“We see career development as being one of the biggest benefits”, commented Jon Calvert, INTIPSA’s other co-chair. “Our aim is to create an environment where up and coming IP strategists can learn from other professionals and trainers – through both training and mentoring – and progress their careers. INTIPSA will also serve as a specialist marketplace for IP strategy-related jobs and services.”

The Association’s website ( offers a one-stop-shop for news and information, and also a window on the IP strategy community. “We’ve thought long and hard about what it means to run a professional association in the age of social media” explained Mike Sharpe, INTIPSA’s Chief Operating Officer (COO). “We want to make the site the hub for the IP strategist community worldwide, showing who’s doing what and showcasing the best around. So, we’ll be giving a high priority to discussions, forums, blogs and other forms of community participation.”

Membership is offered in three categories – Fellow, Member and Associate – depending on professional standing and experience. Student and Corporate packages are also available. Those joining INTIPSA before 30 June 2011 will benefit from preferential initial subscription rates.
Although having its origins in the UK, INTIPSA aims to be fully international and will draw its members from around the world.

Setting the Agenda
While it will be down to the community to set the agenda, two initial priorities have already been identified. “As a relatively new sector, IP strategy is more or less unregulated in terms of professional standards”, explained Maguire. “We believe there is an opportunity to develop a widely-accepted and recognised professional accreditation for IP strategy practitioners and this is something that we will be consulting with members about.”

Related to this is education. “On the whole, business schools pay little attention to these issues at the moment”, said Calvert. “We aim to lead a debate on this so as to raise the profile of IP strategy within management education.”

INTIPSA is already active on the policy front, for instance through its recent submission to the UK’s Hargreaves Review of intellectual property. The Hargreaves report, released earlier this week, highlights the crucial role of IP strategy and commercial advice for businesses, especially SMEs. The Association will also be represented at the IP Business Congress (IPBC) in San Francisco in June, where it has official supporter status.

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