Intellectual Property; Property that derives from the work of the mind or intellect, has commercial value, and includes any intangible asset that consists of human knowledge and ideas. Specifically, an idea, invention, trade secret, process, program, data, formula, patent, copyright, trademark, software or application, right, or registration, business method, or industrial process. In the biotechnology industry, IP can include industrial designs or geographic indications of source.
It is very difficult to place a value on IP, however, valuation may come during sale of the IP, based on the acquisition cost). IP may or may not be patentable or copyrightable. In some cases, such as when research funding comes through grants from the NIH, data sharing policies apply which may interfere with patenting.
IP rights may be legally protected similarly to any other form of property. IP is considerd "created" when it is either originally conceived or developed, or when a non-obvious but useful modification, with practical value, is discovered for an existing invention. The owner of IP is generally entitled to exercise various exclusive rights in relation to that specific subject matter. IP laws vary between jurisdictions. Therefore, the acquisition, registration or enforcement of IP rights must be obtained separately for each region.
In the biotechnology industry, competition for rights and claims to IP require that proper records of research and development activities are kept, generally in the form of laboratory notebooks, for which certain generally accepted rules for maintenance apply. Obtaining patent protection for an original idea is often the first step in development of a new product or biotech startup, is a significant part of what potential investors look for in a new company, and is an important milestone achievement for any company.