Intellectual capital is term used to refer to various intellectual resources such as information, ideas and knowledge (Gervais, 2002). Intellectual capital has been associated by many researchers to technological innovations that have been taking place. Basically, science and technological advancement have played a crucial role in transforming the society and stimulating economic growth in many countries in the world including UAE. This has mainly been mainly as a result of the influence of intellectual properties discovered by various aspects of the economy including production process, modes of business and many others. In this respect, intellectual capital can be described as an intangible asset that has replaced various resources such as industrial machinery. According to Yu (2002), Intellectual capital is deemed to be an important factor needed for wealth creation. On this note, the management of intellectual properties is crucial for any organization to succeed.
1.1Intellectual property rights
Intellectual property rights can be described as the exclusive rights or protection guaranteed by the state to inventiveness and technological innovation (Miller, 2006). Basically the intellectual property rights safeguard the new ideas invented by individuals. In general, there are four main types of intellectual property namely patents, trademarks, trade secrets and lastly copyrights.
2.0 Development of intellectual capital in the UAE
UAE has made a lot of efforts in improving the development of intellectual capital. In support of this, Dubai institute of Technology (DIT) together with R& D branch of Economic Zones World have recently declared the development of intellectual capital in various areas specifically on science and technology (Bounfour & Edvinsson, 2012). Besides, Griffin, (2011) argue that UAE will emerge to be a great intellectual property in the current century following the development in higher education in the region. Accordingly, education is the back bone for development of intellectual property (Yu, 2002). According to Sriramesh & Vercic, (2012), high tech businesses are predicted to increase drastically by 2015. For instance, the number of technology-based startup is expected to rise from the current number of 96 to about 185 in 2015. This is a clear indication of how intellectual capital has developed in UAE. Besides, the government of UAE has persuaded higher education institutions in UAE to focus on giving researchers incentive through allowing them to use the intellectual properties as well as financial resources in order to foster partnership with international researchers and to expand the research base in the country (Zaman, 2011).
3.0 Impact of intellectual capital
Intellectual capital plays a critical role to business and other organizations. Many firms have relied on intellectual property to establish a competitive edge over their rivals. In this respect, such business prefers to invest on Research and Development in order to come up with new innovation. According to Griffin (2011), new innovations in production process facilitate production of new brand products to the market. Also, technological innovations help to speed production process resulting to increased production (Tucker, 2008). Besides, technological innovation may help an organization to reduce production cost by improving efficiency. Consequently, Organizations which embrace intellectual property end up making more profit as a result of reduced cost and increased sales.
Many researchers have made recommendations on how intellectual capital can be effectively managed and developed. For instance, Bounfour & Edvinsson (2012) suggested that government should ensure researchers maximum protection on their intellectual property in order to motivate them. Zaman (2011) on the other hand suggests that government should promote sharing of intellectual property among scientists in order to influence others to become more innovative.
In conclusion, it is evident that intellectual capital is critical factor to UAE organizations. Intellectual property may enable a business to establish a good product based competitive advantage. The overall result of embracing intellectual capital includes improving profitability of a business. However, in order to achieve this, this capital has to be properly managed and implemented.