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If money talks then no one has more credibility to speak on the subject of intellectual capital management than Gordon Petrash Indeed Dow Chemical the 21 billion company that has elevated him to the position of global intellectual asset director has witnessed first-hand the power of knowledge As a result of his groups strategic efforts to manage intellectual assets the Midland Mich-based manufacturer of everything from adhesives to polymers to polystyrene has already heightened the value of its patents by more than 400 and will save in excess of 50 million in related tax obligations and other costs over 10 years Dows vision explains Petrash is to develop a management process that maximizes the business value of its existing intellectual assets and helps to create new ones The people who are involved in these efforts at Dow get excited about it he adds It captures their imagination The company which was formed in 1897 and is now celebrating its 100th birthday sells over 2000 chemical-related products worldwide It is organized into 15 major businesses and is engaged in more than 40 joint ventures Half of its revenues come from international markets Dow which considers itself technology-driven employs about 4000 RD people and spends 30 million a year maintaining and supporting its patent portfolio The companys story illustrates the challenges that face other enterprises that hope to capitalize on knowledge But it also clearly shows the rewards the tangible payoff that can be gained through the effective management of intangibles Dow first began exploring new ways to manage intellectual assets five years ago With the support of high-level executives a small group of individuals which included Petrash came together to examine how the company might reengineer its systems and processes to create more value Out of this relatively unstructured and uncharted early effort arose an interest in rigorously managing the firms intellectual
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