Last year’s globe trotting legal battle between tech titans Apple and Samsung was an excellent preview of the second major trend to look out for in 2013—the explosion in the number of international intellectual property disputes.
Whether your company is in pharmaceuticals, high-technology or durable goods, 2013 will see more companies than ever involved in international litigation or arbitration (sometimes both) over intellectual property rights.
Better Detection of International IP Violations
Leading this trend is the proliferation of corporate IP monitoring programs. Recognizing that Intellectual property theft and loss of trade secrets can cost a company millions of dollars in lost revenue or market share has led many companies to implement international IP monitoring programs.
To compliment these programs, corporations are employing the services of global investigation firms such as Kroll to monitor IP violations.
These firms have a proven track record at uncovering piracy, counterfeiting, gray market diversion and misappropriation by former employees, business associates and third parties.
Traditional Sectors Becoming Tech Intensive
Another factor contributing to the increase in IP disputes is the convergence of technology in health care, oil and gas and financial services. Many of these companies are now essentially tech businesses, relying on advanced technology to operate in places and ways that were previously impossible.
Given the enormous amount of capital companies allocate to develop technology in these sectors, less capitalized competitors are heavily incentivized to misappropriate valuable IP–a practice increasingly common to firms located in less developed regions of the world.
Company Valuation Increasingly Tied to IP
No other factor has done more to increase the rate of IP disputes than valuation–the linking of a company’s IP portfolio to overall company worth. An excellent example of this is Yahoo’s lawsuit against Facebook in March 2012 claiming patent infringement.
This forced Facebook to update its initial public offering (IPO) filing, warning would-be investors that the lawsuit could have a “material” impact on the social network’s business.
Trend to Watch: With increased monitoring overseas, more tech intensive industries and valuation based on a company’s IP, it’s easy to see why we’ll see a sharp increase in international intellectual property disputes in 2013.
Intellectual Property–like never before, it’s worth fighting for.