Intellectual Property

Your Intellectual Property is yours.
Your ideas, your innovations, your business.
Let us keep it that way.

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IP Audit

What is an IP Audit?

An IP audit is a systematic review and analysis of the intellectual property (“IP”) developed, owned and used by your business.

The audit considers the ‘classic’ types of IP such as designs, copyright, patents and trade marks, but also any IP policies, procedures, or commercial contracts that are relevant. IP audits are tailored to your business and its needs now and in the future.

IP audits are an important part of conducting due diligence, and are often the first step taken as part of an overall IP strategy to enable a business to effectively exploit, manage and protect their IP. They also ensure your business is robust and ready for future investment, merger or acquisition.  

Is an IP Audit Expensive?

In a word – “no”. To facilitate economic growth and support smaller businesses, the UKIPO have partnered with Innovate UK to provide funding to carry out an IP audit.

The IP audit grant offers up to £2,500 to businesses looking to instruct a legal professional to conduct an IP audit, where they will essentially review the IP of the business, consider any associated risks, and advise you how to protect it. Though they offer up to £2,500, it does require a contribution of £500 from the business itself. Give us a call to find out more.

IP Strategy

There are a multitude of IP rights, so it can be difficult to know where to start and what process to follow to get ahead of it.

Devising and implementing an IP strategy is the key not only to protecting your position in the marketplace and your IP, but also to gaining a commercial advantage and realising the true value and potential of your IP.

copyright or patent concept, intellectual property
IP Portfolio Management

IP Portfolio Management is the broad term given to the ongoing commitment to protecting, maintaining, reviewing, acquiring and exploiting IP throughout its lifecycle to ensure things run smoothly.

Trade mark registration is only the beginning, as trade marks need to be:

    • Renewed every 10 years;
    • Protected through indicating their status as a registered trade mark; and
    • Maintained when details on the trade mark register become outdated or commercialisation opportunities arise.

Managing IP risk will also help reduce risk to your business.  For example, we can track your competitor’s IP and if necessary, attack those rights. We can also enforce your IP against infringers.

IP Protection
IP Protection

Many types of IP provide a ‘monopoly’ right, which provides exclusive rights to the owner. The exclusive nature of these rights contributes to their value and importance, and calls for adequate protection to be put in place.

Whether this is legal protection through registration of your rights, or having internal procedures and processes in place, IP protection is vital to prevent, deter and act upon any infringement or unauthorised use of your IP.

The best protection is often achieved through registration of your IP, but for IP rights such as trade marks and designs it is vital that screenings and/or clearance searches are conducted before registration.

The search results will identify key risks and allow you to make an informed decision as to whether to register your IP, challenge or negotiate with holders of existing rights that conflict with your IP, or go back to the drawing board. 

Why pursue clearance and registration at all?

Registration of IP brings many benefits such as:

  • Establishing goodwill in your business
  • Making it easier to prove you own the IP
  • Altering others to the existence of your rights
  • Use of the rights as security for obtaining financing or investment

Whether it’s clearing a new trade mark, registering a new design, or protecting and renewing any and all of your IP rights we’re here to help.

If you would like to know more about the trade mark services we offer please click here to download a copy of our schedule.

Trade Secrets and Confidentiality

Trade Secrets are the cornerstone of many successful companies. For example, the secret formula for Coca-Cola or Google’s search algorithm.

Whilst some IP rights require registration by default or to capitalise on them, the reverse is true for trade secrets – their secrecy is maintained via confidentiality and restrictive measures to prevent their disclosure or mishandling.

Whether IP is best protected as a trade secret or through other IP rights is nuanced, and should be discussed with an IP professional to establish the best course of action.

Having a water-tight NDA in place is paramount to ensuring that your confidential information and trade secrets remains just that, confidential and secret.

Whether you need us to draft an NDA from scratch, tailor an existing NDA to meet your needs, or review an NDA that you’ve received from a third party for any traps and pitfalls, we’ve got you covered.

Commercialisation of IP

IP is an intangible asset, and is considered personal property, meaning it can be used to generate revenue and grow your business through its sale or licensing.

However, IP offers more than that: it can form the basis of a new business collaboration, result in product development or improvement, accrue and build goodwill in a brand, company, and much more.

If commercialised successfully, IP will become one of, if not the most valuable asset a company owns.

For some pretty impressive examples of the value of well known brands, take a look at - no surprise really to see Apple, Google and Microsoft in the top 3!

Developing your idea and its associated technology is a key step, but is arguably not the final one. Without exploiting your IP and resultant technology, their innate value cannot be realised fully. 

From assignment of a trade mark, licensing of your shiny new tech, or a blended transfer of various tech, IP and know-how, we’re here to help you achieve your goals and maximise your potential.

IP theft
IP Litigation and Disputes

Owing to their value, IP rights are often the source of disputes regarding their ownership and/or use, and rightly so – if you own IP you will want to take action to enforce and defend your rights.

If you are accused IP infringement, there are many ways to proceed; taking good advice early on is essential and can help avoid costly proceedings.

Disputes don’t always need to be handled by issuing legal proceedings, but often are the result of a conflict that can’t be resolved to the satisfaction of the parties.

Litigation can be an expensive endeavour, so it is important to seek the advice of a professional to ensure your chances of defending your position and reaching your desired outcome while keeping costs down.

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Due diligence and IP Transactions

IP is all around us, and often forms the basis of or a big part of a variety of transactions.

For example, when one company seeks to acquire another they will want to ensure that the IP portfolio of the company they wish to acquire is in order.

IP plays a part in these transactions as an asset with value, that can be sold, licensed or even used as collateral for funding an investment.

Given IP’s involvement in all things business, it’s important to consider business from an IP angle. 

Commercial Contracts

A key factor in many commercial arrangements is IP.  You’ve come up with a brilliant idea with a colleague and want to pursue it, but who will own the IP and how will you achieve this together?

The idea is there but you don’t have the means to fully realise it yourself and are seeking the help of a third party, how will that relationship be governed?

These are examples where an IP focused commercial contract such as collaboration agreements and research and development agreements will set you on the right path.

Further down the line when your idea is coming to fruition, you may need to consider distribution, manufacturing and agency agreements to secure your IP and reach your goals.