Intellectual property as a shield
A shield, as most are aware, is used to protect oneself against blows. The act of shielding, is to protect oneself from a danger, risk or unpleasant experience.
How then shall we think of intellectual property as being a shield?
We think of it as a defense mechanism, protecting its owner from external dangers and threats. We can view it in a few ways:-
i) Protection from External Threats
Depending on strategy, IP owners can choose to use their IP assets in an offensive or defensive manner. Business owners can choose to operate their business in a peaceful manner, and not use their assets to forcefully frighten away potential competitors. However, when under attack from other companies that encroach on their territory, the IP owner can choose to mobilize these IP assets to protect themselves and ward off these external threats.
ii) As a Defensive Tool - Fortress
We can also view IP assets as the building blocks to a fortress. With a large enough IP portfolio, an owner would have enough building blocks to build quite a large fortress that if strategized correctly, can be almost impenetrable. This creates a large barrier to entry, and will naturally ward off any new players who wish to enter the same marketplace.
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