Intellectual Property Protection in Software Enterprises

Intellectual Property Protection in Software Enterprises

Juha Kettunen (Turku University of Applied Sciences, Finland)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61520-965-1.ch709
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Abstract

Enterprises are facing challenges in protecting their intellectual property (IP) due to the rapid technological changes, shortened lifecycles, and the intangibility of products. The IP protection granted by the national intellectual property rights (IPRs) legislation does not correspond very well with the needs of enterprises operating in a rapidly changing business environment (Andersen & Striukova, 2001; Bechina, 2006). The most valuable assets of knowledge intensive enterprises are the knowledge and skills embodied in human capital, which cannot be protected using the traditional and formal IP protection (Coleman & Fishlock, 1999; Kitching & Blackburn, 1998; Miles, Andersen, Boden, & Howells, 2000). The challenges for IP protection in the context of knowledge intensive small enterprises lie in creating business environments that support the knowledge sharing and creation, innovativeness, and IP protection. In particular, the challenges are related to the identification of such formal and informal protection methods which improve the business process. The aim of knowledge management is to stimulate innovation and create knowledge. Knowledge management allows knowledge with critical and strategic characteristics in an enterprise to be located, formalised, shared, enhanced, and developed. The purpose of this study on information security management is to explore how small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) protect their IP in software business. This study investigates how strategic IP protection supports the knowledge sharing and innovation creation and explores the critical phases of IP protection in small software enterprises. This study also describes and develops management, using the approach of knowledge management and applying the spiral of knowledge creation in software development. The article is organised as follows. The IP protection of enterprises operating in software development is introduced in the background section. The main attention of the article concentrates on IP protection, which is analysed using the framework of knowledge management. IP protection is investigated in the various phases of knowledge creation in software development. Thereafter some future trends are described. Finally, the results of the study are summarised and discussed in the concluding section.

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