Illustration: Thief making off with an idea

When companies consider theft risk, they're usually analyzing threats to their physical assets or the chance a rogue employee will engage in embezzlement. But sometimes the biggest, most detrimental loss a company could face is intangible. Intellectual property, or IP, refers to creations of the mind. Many IP assets are protected under law as copyrights, trademarks, or patents. Other forms of IP can include trade secrets, manufacturing processes, and other know-how that is difficult for competitors to replicate.

For treasury departments in companies that rely heavily on IP to generate value, protecting intellectual property may be as important as protecting cash flows and leading corporate investment strategy. After all, for many businesses, IP is the goose that lays golden eggs. Wise treasury professionals keep an eye on all the company's golden eggs and take active measures to shore up the source of each egg.

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