Intellectual property in the Global Enterprise

The role of IP in the Global Enterprise departs in important ways from its role in traditional multinational companies

Our current era of unprecedented globalization has led to the emergence of companies that are more than just multinational — they are truly global in their thinking and in their view of themselves and in their view of the world. In addition to products, services, capital and ideas, the Global Enterprise utilizes global supply chains, global leadership, and global management for intellectual property. And the role of intellectual property in the Global Enterprise departs in important ways from its role in traditional multinational companies.

The Global Enterprise uses both proprietary and open innovation models

The Global Enterprise establishes and maintains a culture of IP knowledge and awareness

Establishing and maintaining a culture of high IP knowledge and awareness is crucial to the Global Enterprise. Where a traditional multinational corporation might think of IP merely as a legal asset, the Global Enterprise appreciates IP as a business asset. This is accomplished by organizing IP as a business unit — accounting for profits and losses and incorporating other normal business attributes. Further, employee training is important. The Global Enterprise commits to training all employees to understand the basics of respect for the enterprise’s IP and the IP of others, as well as training all technical employees to identify and disclose possible inventions. This ensures that innovation is captured everywhere, so that good decisions can be made about what gets formal protection and where it is protected. Strong measures are put in place to avoid unintentionally coming into possession of third-party technology without appropriate licenses.

Contributing Author

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David J. Kappos

David J. Kappos is a partner at Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP. He is widely recognized as one of the world's foremost leaders in the...

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