Most significantly, a company without a good intellectual property strategy risks not obtaining protection for intellectual property with significant financial value.
Other risks include:
A solid intellectual property strategy can protect rights to products with significant economic value and protect the intellectual property from use by competitors, including a competitor's ability to develop work-arounds to circumvent patents. Companies also can avoid spending resources on intellectual property with limited value to the company, which can help the company focus its resources in more productive areas.
Likewise, strategies for supporting academic research, or working with collaborators, can be structured to protect rights to intellectual property or help gain access to intellectual property that might not otherwise be available. Some collaborations, for instance, might involve materials for which a company has what is known as a "composition of matter" patent. This means that even new uses or combinations that include the patented material cannot be developed without licensing the original material that is part of the new product. Having that composition of matter patent in place is an intellectual property protection strategy that can be used to structure collaboration agreements.
Further, understanding how intellectual property fits into the company strategically can give you a competitive advantage in the marketplace and provide clear guidelines for what information you don't want to disclose because it can hurt you.