“Intellectual property promotes innovation by allowing inventors in small companies, large companies and universities alike to protect their inventions in ways that are enforceable,” Brian Hinman, Chief Intellectual Property Officer at Royal Philips explained in a recent video interview with Ideas Matter. “You want to sell products, you want to sell services based on that innovation. [IP] allows you to secure that protection and substantiate that innovation.”
Hinman, who is also the CEO of Philips Intellectual Property & Standards, explained that IP helps small companies as well as large companies, given that the intangible value of assets like intellectual property has grown over the years and been recognised by markets and investors. In 1975, only 15-17% of the market value of companies was in intangible assets including intellectual property, said Hinman; today that percentage is 84%.
If small companies do not secure IP, large companies can simply take their inventions, said Hinman; IP thus gives small companies the freedom of action to exploit their own inventions in the marketplace.
Intellectual property protection also helps both national economies and consumers. As companies use IP to generate more value, there is more money flowing through the economy, Hinman said. “The consumer also benefits, through getting more innovative and high-tech products.”
Philips, which was one of the founding members of Ideas Matter, and sees this initiative as a ‘great platform’ for explaining the value of intellectual property in everyday terms. In Hinman’s words, “Increasing the knowledge and the appreciation of intellectual property in general will allow people to understand what that value brings to them.”