This article identifies the role and significance of intellectual property ( IP) management in small and medium-sized social enterprises ( SMSEs) and aims to address a gap in the available literature dealing with IP use and management in social enterprise ( SE). The findings are based on the results of a qualitative study undertaken with Australian SMSEs, in the form of in-depth semi-structured interviews. The research identifies how SMSEs view and manage their IP rights, and the significance of these rights in the organisation. The findings suggest that there is a significant lack of IP rights management strategies for protection of IP assets such as trade marks, copyright and patents on the part of SMSEs. This is largely due to a lack of resources and knowledge— SMSEs are typically cash poor and often lack sophisticated management skills and legal assistance. The article considers the findings in depth and advocates, in conclusion, a more proactive IP management approach by SMSEs. Additionally, it offers a suggested model for SMSEs to incorporate an IP management strategy into their existing structures.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/francina_cantatore/24/