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29th July 2021

Intangible assets pave way to freedom from Covid-19 pandemic

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As featured in TechRound

Intangible assets pave way to freedom from Covid-19 pandemic

The Covid-19 vaccine stands to be one of the world’s most critical intangible assets as it helps countries return to levels of normality

Member of Bank of England Monetary Policy Committee, non-Executive Director of UK Statistics Authority and Professor of Economics at Imperial College London, Jonathan Haskel, states “if ever we doubted how important these intangible assets are, the development of the vaccine strikes me as being an absolutely front and centre example”.

In an episode of the Cipher Vision podcast, Haskel stresses the importance of understanding these assets and valuing them correctly.

He goes on to explain the notable shift in the global economy where investments comprise mainly of intangible assets. Where previously companies would invest in tangible assets, such as new buildings, machinery and vehicles, 80% of an organisation’s assets are, or will be, intangible.

Will the development of the Covid-19 vaccine – a critical intangible asset – act as our much-needed economic awakening? It’s time for the world to treat, measure and value intangibles in the same way we do material assets.

The idea that our economy is running on immaterial things is not unfamiliar. It is, however, unchartered territory. Despite the fact that we are swimming in intangible assets, we “are now trying to measure capitalism without counting all the capital” (Capitalism without Capital, Jonathan Haskel and Stian Westlake).

As the economic landscape continues to move towards intangibles, the need for transparency around what those assets are, the value they bring to an organisation and the economy is vital.

“What’s required is for behaviours to change and evolve to keep up with this new reality. This requires better communication and collaboration between those in the intellectual property world and those that run businesses and the economy,” Nigel Swycher, CEO at Cipher states on the Cipher Vision podcast.

When intangible assets account for 85% of the total business value across industries and organisations are spending more than $40 billion a year on patent assets, reporting on the return of that substantial investment is a reasonable request.

The knock on the door from the board is coming and organisations must be prepared for it.

Gone are the silos between Intellectual Property teams and the wider business. Organisations, economists, accountants and IP professionals must recognise the part intangibles play in the value of our economy and adapt accordingly.

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