Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs) can be an extremely valuable tool for your business. Every business has IPRs, and for some businesses, particularly those operating within tech, digital, innovation and creative industries, IPRs are at the very core of what the business has to offer and its commercial value. They ensure protection of your assets and assist with maximising their commercial value and potential.
What is an IP Audit?
An IP Audit is a comprehensive assessment of your current IPRs, identifying opportunities for optimising their value and protecting them for the future conducted by a specialist IP lawyer. There are many types of IPRs including trade marks, copyright, designs, patents, and associated rights.
In simple terms, we explore what IPRs you have, what is protected, and where the protection is lacking or could be improved. We also look at any deals or contracts you have involving your IPRs and suggest changes or improvements.
You can instruct us directly in relation to conducting an IP Audit and pay the fees using your funds. Alternatively, you can apply for IP Audit grant funding from the UK Intellectual Property Office (“UK IPO”) via Innovate UK or Business Wales (depending on your location). Grant funding can be obtained subject to your business meeting the relevant criteria. We accept UK IPO grant funding towards full or partial IP Audit fees depending on its scope and complexity. We also accept further grant funding obtained via the UK IPO Access Scheme in relation to implementing recommendations included in the IP Audit on the same basis.
What does an IP Audit involve?
Our IP Audit will be tailored to the needs of your business. Depending on the scope it may include:
• identifying existing registered and unregistered IPRs
• identifying existing commercial contracts with an IP element (such as IPR licenses, assignments, contracts for services, supply contracts, employment and director contracts) or recommending putting them in place
• recommending procedures and practices to adopt to achieve effective IP management and monitoring, and in turn, improved protection of IPRs
• recommending procedures to adopt in response to an IPR infringement, and to limit risk of reoccurrence
• recommending IPR management and protection training for employees
• discussing IPR valuation tools
When should I consider an IP Audit?
If you are searching for it, now is probably the right time.
Consider it as taking stock of your assets and learning more about their protection and current and potential value. The circumstances in advance of which an IP Audit could be particularly useful include:
• mergers and/or acquisitions
• rounds of investments into businesses owning IPRs
• business expansion
• restructuring of a wider group of companies
• potential upcoming assignments of IPRs
• licensing or transfers of IPRs
As part of an IP Audit, we will review all of the relevant information and offer our conclusions and recommendations. The scope of our audit is tailored to your individual needs.
Do I need an IP Audit?
Almost any business regardless of its size or stage of life cycle, can benefit from an IP Audit. Improper or lack of IPR management and protection could leave you and your business exposed to infringement and risk of third parties taking unfair advantage of your IPRs. An IP Audit from Geldards will include recommendations that will help minimise such risks.
Some of the benefits for your business include:
- giving you the opportunity to see the real monetary value of your IPRs and highlight ways of maximising their potential. For example, your company may own IPRs that are not being currently used and opportunities for licensing or assignment could become an additional source of income for your business
- identifying rights that may soon expire, lack sufficient protection, or have no protection at all
- speeding up and reducing costs of the due diligence process in corporate and commercial transactions as IPR-related issues are addressed in advance
- identifying current infringements of your IPRs by third parties or infringements of third-party IPRs you may be involved in and recommending appropriate initial steps to rectify such issues
- reducing the risk of IPRs becoming subject of costly business disputes
This is also a beneficial activity if you hold many IPRs but are unsure about what they are and what status they have, for example because your data record or document management policies require improvement.
What happens after an IP Audit?
Once your IP Audit is complete, we will provide you with a detailed report including our observations and recommendations which our experienced team can action if required. Our teams are experts in IP and unlike many other IP Audit service providers, we have the necessary and comprehensive legal expertise to help you follow through on the recommendations made in the audit and beyond.
If you would like to learn more about IP Audit, you can download our information sheet here and contact a member of our IP team using the contact details below.