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Intellectual Property: It is All About the Value

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by James Gormley -

“Intellectual property” is a funny-sounding descriptive. For a split second I envision a brain cordoned off by barbed wire fencing with “No Trespassing” signs posted all around.

As for “intellectual property” and “dietary supplement ingredients,” these terms used to be considered mutually exclusive: “You can’t patent nutrients” was the oft-voiced dismissal to any conversation broached in this area.

Today, intellectual property is both the lifeblood and the bedrock of the natural products industry, a foundation of innovation and brand investment fueled by science and protected by patents (e.g., process and composition of matter), trademarks, registered trademarks, and copyrights.

But products of intellectual discovery, research, and development are not, of course, an end in and of themselves.

They must not, as we know, be used as window dressing and supplied in fairy dust amounts so that you can put that “bug” on the bottle, charge more, and leverage this low-dose proprietary ingredient for marketing purposes.

You should have a strategic goal in mind for a product that provides real value for consumers, enhanced value that is best delivered by the formulation, process, or uses in your portfolio.

As Sheldon Baker sagely noted in 2010: “Intellectual property, as it relates to branding, includes all aspects of marketing.

“The key to developing and maintaining brand economic success is to design intellectual property strategy into the creative and innovation process from the beginning,” added Baker.

“Thinking about intellectual property at the outset of the creative process means that you will have a product with longer and more sustainable value and the right strategy to protect your brand [so it] can increase its value.”

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