Last week, I had a surprise call from Sathyabama University to address their MBA students on IPRs as a part of an ongoing workshop. I was able to turn around with short notice as teaching IPR for management scholars is something I have been doing for years and particularly enjoy the way management scholars look at IPRs.
Far from the lawyers’ focus on infringement and licensing, management scholars have a beautiful view on strategic management of IPRs based on their lifespan. They classify IPRs into limited life IPRs (patents, copyright, designs) and unlimited life IPRs (trademarks, trade secrets). The strategic management of these IPRs involves value articulation – the process of transforming and translating value from the limited life IPRs to unlimited life IPRs to sustain the business advantage.
Case studies show how Dolby (as a part of the Star Wars franchise) converted its value from early patents to continuing value through its trade marks. We can see Bose doing the same now. We covered many examples: how Nexium (the purple pill) combined many IPRs to survive the expiry of it patents and how Disney extracted lasting value out of a copyright license for Winne the Pooh. A brief look at the literature on IP from management scholars is enough for us to appreciate the diversity in the different approaching to teaching IP. Intellectual property means different things to different people.
I also got a chance to meet the Director of Research and to have a quick tour of the research and incubation centre.