Intellectual property

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Explicit knowledge assets that are protected by law including patents, trademarks, copyrights, licenses


Intellectual property (IP) is an intangible asset that has commercial value. In nuclear R&D organizations the development of IP is a key deliverable of the organization and as such should be protected. As well as physical assets such as designs, inventions, software etc. ‘employee know-how’ is also regarded as IP. In fact the value of employee know-how in many R&D organizations far outweighs the value of physical assets. Protecting all kinds of IP involves:

  • Taking an inventory of existing IP;
  • Assessing IP value;
  • Implementing controls on high value items and then integrating these controls into the management system.

Taking an inventory of ‘employee know-how’ is essentially the same task as identifying critical knowledge in the organization, hence there is an obvious linkage here with the KM tools and techniques described in Section 6 of this publication.

  1. Applicable organizational functions;
    • All types of R&D organization, but with particular relevance to:
      • Applied research functions;
      • Design R&D functions;
      • Technical support & services functions.
  2. Related KM tools/techniques to consider:

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