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The Invisible Edge: Taking Your Strategy to the Next Level Using Intellectual Property Hardcover – Bargain Price, March 5, 2009

4.8 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Mark Blaxill and Ralph Eckardt are managing partners of 3LP Advisors, an investment advisory firm focused on intellectual property transactions. Blaxill is a former senior vice president of The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) and was head of its strategy practice initiative. Eckardt is the former head of BCG’s intellectual property strategy practice, and led the development of the IP visualization software featured in this book.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Portfolio Hardcover (March 5, 2009)
  • ISBN-10: 1591842379
  • ASIN: B002BWQ5BI
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.2 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,575,018 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Irving S. Rappaport on November 12, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Blaxill and Eckhardt's "Invisible Edge" is a must read for every 21st century business executive, every member of Congress and their staffs, every judge that hears patent cases, and every citizen interested in the U.S. economy making a sustainable recovery from our current financial crisis and continuing to be the world's most innovative and successful economy. This book lays out the case for why every business organization, no matter how large or small, needs to have an intellectual property strategy that is consistent with its overall business strategy. As stated in the book, "a business plan without an Intellectual Property (IP) strategy is simply philanthropy".

The authors set out in clear and concise terms all the reasons and approaches that a 21st century business enterprise must take with respect to creating a sustainable advantage for long run survival and success. While patents were indispensable in the industrial era, in a post-industrial, global, knowledge-based economy, patents and other IP protection are the key building blocks upon which any organization must build a strong and lasting foundation. As a founder of Aurigin Systems, Inc., creator of an early software platform for managing patents in their competitive landscapes and as a founder of IP Checkups Inc., providing competitive patent landscape and patent monitoring and alerting services, the strategies presented in this book are critical steps to building a successful company in today's world. Without strong IP protection, once a product or service is put on the market, competitors have been given a free meal ticket to feed off of your hard earned developments and inventions, all at no cost.
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Format: Hardcover
The average business book is really a business article, padded out to book length via stings of anecdotes and repetition of the obvious. Not in this case. Blaxill and Eckardt have a substantive case to make - namely, that in the search for sustainable competitive advantage, most managers are looking in the wrong place. According to the authors, conventional management efforts - focused as they are on operational efficiencies and "best practices" - are bound to fail, because in an era of hypercompetition, traditional advantages can't be defended for any length of time.

Instead, they argue, intellectual property is the only key to lasting advantage - and IP strategy should be the chief focus of senior management's attention. To delegate IP to specialists from the legal and engineering camps is to fail.

Blaxill and Exckardt support the argument with extensive, detailed examples of companies that got their IP right and those that didn't, as well as policy decisions that strengthened or weakened IP positions. In particular the story of Xerox - effectively stripped of its IP in the '70s in a misguided government effort to ensure competitiveness. Overseas competitors thrived on the IP they were able to access, and Xerox never recovered. It's a cautionary tale for 21st-Century patent policy.

Blaxill and Eckardt are IP traditionalists - they favor strong protection. They're definitely not members of the Wickinomics/"information wants to be free" camps. There's a place for IP collaboration in their world, but it needs to be balanced against the recognition that too much sharing at the wrong time risks diluting a company's sole source of value. Not a fashionable viewpoint by any means, but one that needs and deserves to be heard.
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Format: Hardcover
What are the most important invisible assets that make up the world of intellectual property (IP)? In this book, Mark Blaxill and Ralph Eckhardt include these: trade secrets, trademarks, copyrights, and patents for invention. In the first four chapters of their book, they establish the foundations for thinking about IP: how invisible investments drive economic growth, how intellectual property drives business profits, how to unleash "the company of ideas," and how to turn complexity into a competitive advantage. Then in the next three chapters, they shift their attention to corporate strategy: why innovation without protection is philanthropy, how to realize the benefits of open innovation, and how to win by design. In the final three chapters, they "zoom out to see how IP is changing the face of economic competition between countries, and [they also] zoom in to see that IP assets are becoming tradable commodities, and that an entirely new asset class is beginning to emerge. More specifically, they explain why "IP nations" are the future of global competition, why the emerging market of IP is "a capital idea," and how to formulate a strategy and game plan that will achieve an invisible competitive advantage.

The material provided in Section II, "Competitive Strategy for a Company of Ideas" (Chapters 5-7), is of special interest to me. Having explained in Part I why IP strategies require the development of relational advantages in a complex competitive environment, Blaxill and Eckhardt now shift their attention how strategies of control, collaboration, and simplification "echo the three attributes of a basic network [i.e. nodes, links, and clusters] and comprise a cycle: one where opportunity leads to success, success confronts its limits, and limits create new opportunities.
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