Your Intellectual Property is yours.
Your ideas, your innovations, your business.
Let us keep it that way.
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.
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.
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- Maintained when details on the trade mark register become outdated or commercialisation opportunities arise.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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?