3. Storing IP
IP Assets can exist either in electronic from, physical form or both. Effective mechanisms need to be established to store these assets.
a. Electronic IP assets
Establishing and maintaining an electronic database to capture and store corporate IP asset inventories enables the written record of IP assets. It should include asset name, date of creation, inventor’s details and category, for example. Some other options include:
- File systems and tools that protect documents from unintentional change, intentional change and intentional change due to fraud.
- ICT security measures such as firewalls to prevent intrusion, application of digital signature or encryption technologies for authentication, password protection programs, access level control and audit trails are appropriate to protect these IP assets.
- Regular updates of virus protection software.
- The back-up of electronically stored documents and their databases is essential, and once archived on disk should be stored in a fire-proof cabinet placed at a location with restricted access.
b. Physical IP assets
Physical IP assets include hardcopy documents, prototypes, lab equipment as well as the physical business infrastructure itself. Options include:
- Effective security arrangements for the buildings, labs, offices and filing cabinets.
- Establish rules that require all documents pertaining to the organisation’s activities to be kept in locked cabinets and no document should be left unattended.
- Any documents which are no longer required should be destroyed, not just disposed.