Intellectual Property Compliance: Systematic Methods for Building and Using Intellectual Property
Cambridge Handbook of Compliance, edited by D. Daniel Sokol & Benjamin van Rooij, Cambridge University Press, 2020, Forthcoming.
23 Pages Posted: 20 Dec 2019
Date Written: December 19, 2019
Systematic methods for building and using intellectual property (IP) support companies in creative projects. These methods ensure compliance with IP laws to both establish IP interests and enforce those interests. More than just systematic means to advance legal interests, well-crafted and carefully operated IP compliance programs serve as reliable sources of new creative assets and IP-enhanced profits.
The ability of IP compliance programs to create new business opportunities distinguish these programs from counterparts in many other legal fields. Compliance programs in other fields are often aimed at ensuring compliance with prevailing legal standards to avoid either significant penalties for non-compliance or restrictive government actions imposed if compliance is not achieved. IP compliance programs frequently have far more positive aims, allowing companies to maximize the capture of new creative outputs and to administer business practices that translate IP assets into new profit-making ventures. IP compliance programs are constructive, helping companies build and operate IP-based business operations.
At the same time, IP compliance programs are often preventative, making them parallel in these respects to compliance programs in other areas of the law. IP owned by other parties can severely limit companies’ freedom of action and produce unexpected liabilities that can scuttle major business enterprises. IP compliance programs can prevent commitments to business actions that will conflict with other parties’ IP interests, allowing alternatives avoiding the conflicts to be considered or the requisite permissions obtained to allow use of the needed IP. Used this way, IP compliance programs are tools to identify and prevent IP threats well before the threats do harm and at early stages of business planning when many possible responses to IP threats are still available for preventing harm.
This chapter considers four main topics. First, it examines the distinctive features of IP compliance programs as asset builders and positive contributors to the opportunities and potential profits of business enterprises. Second, it considers the more traditional role of IP compliance programs as problem identifiers and liability preventers much like compliance programs in other fields of law. Third, the article provides an overview of ways that systematic compliance methods developed for other types of law compliance (such as compliance with criminal law standards) can serve IP compliance goals. Fourth, the article summarizes prior research into the aims and features of IP compliance programs. Taken together, these discussions describe present understanding of how IP compliance programs both differ from and conform to other types of law compliance programs.
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