Press release

Licensing Executives Society (LES) Standards Committee Initiates Final Public Review of Standard to Protect Intellectual Property within the Global Supply Chain

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Intellectual property, or “IP,” represents the most significant asset possessed by many corporations, manufacturers, distributors, and others engaged in international commerce. It therefore simultaneously represents the biggest opportunity and one of the most significant risks to the global supply chain. Given the complexities of IP, its security requires that market participants understand and correctly implement protections to safeguard trademarks, copyrights, and patents, both internally and across global supply chains.

Today, the Licensing Executives Society of USA and Canada (LES) commenced a 45-day public review period for the LES draft standard “Protecting Intellectual Property (IP) in the Global Supply Chain.” The public review period concludes on May 31, 2021. Developed by the LES IP Protection in Supply Chain Standards Committee, the draft standard defines a common set of expectations to which companies can aspire—and tactics they can employ—on a voluntary basis to protect their IP across global networks of business partners, suppliers, and customers.

LES encourages those interested in learning more about the standard and contributing their thoughts and perspectives to its refinement, to take part in the public review by visiting the Public Review Website at

“The global supply chain brings both risk and reward for intellectual property and the purpose of this standard is to mitigate those risks in a manner that doesn’t dilute opportunities,” said LES President and Chair Gillian Fenton. “Across industries and borders, the events of the past year have underscored how global collaboration can serve economic and public interests, and how IP lives at the epicenter of that reality. The draft standard will help companies understand that filing patents, registering trademarks, and relying on contracts are not enough to protect IP in today’s global economy. Our standard will allow companies to be more proactive in demonstrating their commitment to protecting their most precious assets and, in so doing, allow all to more confidently access the significant benefits of the global supply chain.”

The LES IP Protection in Supply Chain Standards Committee is led by subject-matter experts from organizations across the supply chain industry, including corporations, institutions of higher learning, consulting firms, and law firms. The document contains a set of management system requirements around IP that includes policies and procedures, risk assessment, third-party management, information technology and physical security, monitoring and corrective actions, training and awareness building, and senior management commitment.

In particular, the Committee points to three notable characteristics of the standard that will make it particularly well-suited to serve the needs of the marketplace:

  1. It’s flexible. The standard incorporates a “maturity matrix,” giving companies the ability to use a one-to-five scale to determine what level of adherence to the standard is appropriate for them and/or others in their end-to-end supply chain, and over what time period.
  2. It’s practice-based. The standard was developed with direct and ongoing connection to the IP challenges and prevailing realities of those tasked with IP management and protection across global supply chains
  3. It’s applicable across the entire supply chain. A company can make use of the standard in multiple ways and in a manner that it self-determines—as an internal checklist, to verify adherence of supply-chain partners, and/or as a reference for a third party conducting an independent audit.

The LES Standards Initiative has encouraged IP thought leaders around the globe to participate in the public review of LES draft standard throughout its development. As an Accredited Standards Developer of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), LES now is providing a 45-day public review period to encourage manufacturers, distributors, and any interested stakeholders to represent each organization’s best interests while helping to shape this field for the future.

This most recent draft of the standard incorporates the perspectives provided by stakeholders during a previous public review period a year ago. Upon completion of the public review period, the standard must receive approval from the LES Board of Directors and an affirmative vote from the organization’s Consensus Standards Partnership (CSP) before it is adopted.

“It was a rigorous process for the LES Standards Committee to develop this standard,” said Committee Chair Craig Moss. “Our goal is to create shared expectations for the elements of an IP protection management system and to enable any company to show that it has the business processes in place to protect its own IP and the IP of third parties. Incorporating the perspectives of a wide range of stakeholders took time, effort, and collaboration. The result is a standard that takes a pragmatic approach, striking the appropriate balance of providing guidance to ensure adherence with best practices without obligations that might make the standard too complicated or onerous to adopt.”

Get Involved in the LES IP Protection in Supply Chain Standards Committee

To become a member of the LES Standards program and the LES IP Protection in Supply Chain Standards Committee, visit LES Standards Committee members interested in joining the IP Protection in Supply Chain Standards Committee can register on the LES website to take advantage of participating in meetings and calls.

Join the LES Standards Initiative

The ANSI-accredited LES Standards program offers enterprises and individuals the best practices and standards they need to improve the way they do IP transactions, protect their innovation, use IP in their business strategies, and manage third-party IP. To learn more, visit:​​​​​​​

About the Licensing Executives Society (U.S.A. and Canada), Inc.

Established in 1965, the Licensing Executives Society (U.S.A. and Canada), Inc. (LES) is a professional society of 2,800 members engaged in the creation, commercial development and orderly transfer of intellectual property rights; protection and management of intellectual capital; and intellectual capital management standards development. LES members are accountants, business leaders, business model innovators, consultants, dealmakers, economists, engineers, IP valuation experts, lawyers, licensing executives, lobbyists, merger and acquisition experts, public policy leaders, scientists, strategic planners, supply chain managers, tax specialists, and technology transfer specialists. These members represent innovation-centered enterprises of all sizes and kinds — such as government laboratories, professional services firms, universities, operating companies, regulatory authorities, licensing specialty firms and trade associations. LES is a member society of the Licensing Executives Society International, Inc. (LESI), which has 32 sister societies representing 7,500 members in 90 countries.