Companies and Intellectual Property

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Imagine today’s world without the beauty of technologies and innovations like smartphones, tablets, medical devices, medicines and cutting edge genomic therapies. Intellectual property laws such as copyright, patents, trade secretes and trademarks exist to protect several companies including technology company’s rights over their innovations and inventions. Rights over intellectual property make companies unique and distinct from each other. Intellectual property according to Kubasek, Brennan, & Browne, (2015) “is property that is primarily the result of mental creativity rather than physical effort.”

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Intellectual property can be considered as a valuable asset for cooperation, it is therefore important for companies to protect their creativity and innovation in order to be competitive and sustainable. An article by Liptak, & Goel (2016) showed how far companies are willing to fight and spend millions of dollars just to protect their innovations and ideas. In the article, Apple sued Samsung for allegedly copying the design of the iPad and iPhone. The federal law regarding patents goods states that business found imitating or copying a design patent will be liable for the total proceeds generated from the sale of the copied design (Liptak, & Goel, 2016). According to the article, “Apple was awarded $399 million in damages for Samsung’s design patent infringement, the entire profit Samsung made from its sales of the infringing smartphones” (Liptak, & Goel, 2016). Apple was approved a trademark for the designs and layouts of its stores which covered the shelves in the store, the design, the position of the tables in the store. A Trademark is a “distinctive mark, word, design, picture, or arrangement that is used by a producer in conjunction with a product and tends to cause consumers to identify the product with the producer.”

The act of balancing business needs and customer expectations has been a major challenge for most companies. This is because most companies have set “financial engineering” (Light, 2017) as their short term goal and strives to meet this goal at all means, which sometimes leads to compromised quality of service. “Financial Engineering at the expense of customer focus is a formula for failure” (Light, 2017). The company’goal for any “for Profit Company” is to generate and increase revenue. Companies can achieve this success by attracting more loyal customers to patronize the company’s product more frequently. Company’s can satisfy consumers by providing creative products and innovative services based on customer’s needs.

For Profit Company’s primary responsibility to its shareholders is to make profit. Organizations should focus on satisfying both shareholders and customers at the same time. Focusing on only shareholders satisfaction is not good for business and the business brand. Companies that exploit customers to satisfy shareholders fail at the long round. The truth is, customer satisfaction might be costly, but not satisfying customers will cost more. Customer’s who are satisfied can advocate for a product brand and its services, which helps to generate more customers to patronize the product at less acquisition cost. “Unless companies can balance customer expectations and business needs, they would end up either displeasing their customers or causing losses to themselves.” (Newman, 2016).

One-way companies can maintain a balance is through the “service profit chain: Practices aimed at maximizing customer satisfaction create a mutually reinforcing value chain, as happy customers continue to support companies that successfully meet their needs” (Swanerpoel, 2017). In today’s world, customers have the power to build or break a business; it is therefore necessary for cooperation’s to provide an exceptional customer service. Great and exceptional customer service enhances customer’s experience, which in turn leads to customer loyalty, bigger purchases, brand advocacy, repeated businesses and increased revenue. Another way to balance business needs and customer satisfaction is through mutual satisfaction. Although exceptional customer service is key to the success of the business, it is important for a cooperate manager to know where to draw the line. For example, in a restaurant business, if a particular customer always complains of not being satisfied with the portion size offered and the company continues to increase the portion size just to satisfy the customer, but he never gets satisfied, then continuing to meet such a need will eventually cost the company. “Working towards the goal of customer satisfaction will only increase profitability if customer expectations are reasonable and consistent with the level of service that the business can realistically provide relative to the prices it charges” (Swanerpoel, 2017).

A third way to balance customer and business needs is for a business to sometimes sacrifice short-term profitability in order to meet customer’s needs. For example, it can be costly to replace a poor quality product with a better one, which will compromise short-term profitability. However, customer satisfaction can build brand loyalty, repeated business and word of mouth referrals leading to long-term profitability (Swanerpoel, 2017).

Creators of an invention or innovation seek protection and rights to their intellectual property. The owner of an intellectual property wants to benefit from the invention or recover the cost of the invention, at the same time; the community wants to benefit from the invention or product. This creates tension between the creator of the product and the community. Creators of intellectual property seek patent for the created goods to protect their invention and prevent imitations. For example, copyrighted works like music and books cannot be copied without seeking permission from the creator or paying royalty. Patent can be defined as “Protection that grants the holder the exclusive right to produce, sell, and use the object of the patent for 20 years; can be obtained for a product, process, invention, machine, or a plant produced by asexual reproduction” {Kubasek, et al., 2015). The bigger question to be addressed is whether patent for products that saves or improve human lives should benefit the creator or the customer.

Companies need to consider several factors when they create intellectual properties that save or improve lives. How do creators protect their intellectual property and still benefit consumers. The law permits creators that hold patents products to charge customers any amount for their exclusive property. There has been news of pharmaceutical companies who has increased prices of drugs used in treating life threatening illnesses by huge amounts without any explanation. For example, Turing Pharmaceuticals increased the price of Daraprim (drug that treats life-threatening parasitic infection) from $13.50 a tablet to $750 a pill. Another example was the huge increase in the price of cycloserine overnight from $500 to $10,800 for 30 capsules. Although the law might permit that, creators of drugs and medical devices should have the interest of customers at heart beyond pursuit of profit. Placing customers first and enhancing lives ultimately leads to company’s success. Companies should also be responsible to the society through cooperate social responsibility.

Looking through the lens of a Biblical worldview, owners of intellectual properties that saves or enhances lives should first seek the interest of customers. For the scripture says in Philippians 2:3-4 that “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others,” (New International Version). The book of Corinthians makes a similar statement “No one should seek their own good, but the good of others” (1 Corinthians 10:24). Christians and owners of intellectual properties must understand that, if the lord blesses you with an idea to invent a product or service, it’s not just for your own good but also for the good of other. Several studies have proved that placing customers first comes with it own rewards and business sustainability.

In conclusion, several organizations find it challenging to maintain a balance between customer satisfactions and meeting business needs. Exceptional customer service enhances customer’s experience, which in turn leads to customer loyalty, bigger purchases, brand advocacy, repeated businesses and increased revenue. Companies who create intellectual properties that saves or enhances lives should have a greater responsibility to the community more than themselves. As Christians, our ultimate purpose on earth is to love God and love one another. “God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them” (Hebrew 6:10).

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Companies and Intellectual Property. (2019, Feb 20). Retrieved December 4, 2022 , from
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