IP Audits – is your IP properly protected and working for you?
As you may know, IPR (Intellectual Property Rights) are extensive and cover unregistered rights such as goodwill, confidential information, copyright, unregistered trade marks, and unregistered design rights. These come into existence automatically and exist without formal registration, while registered rights (such as registered designs, trade marks and patents) need to be registered at the relevant intellectual property offices around the world.
IP protection is often key for a business and so omitting to secure adequate protection for your IP can be a mistake – it may lead to expensive, time-consuming and complex efforts to enforce your rights, as well as failure to secure investment or stop others exploiting your innovation and hard work.
IP Audits – what are they?
An IP Audit is a detailed review of the IP you use and own in your business. The audit usually includes an on-site meeting where we look at the IPR in context and assess your business needs, along with taking a view with you on how you will want to use and exploit the IP in the future. We will then produce a comprehensive report highlighting any gaps in your protection or risks to the business, as well as future areas to look out for where IP may be generated. The report will conclude with recommendations and an action plan that your business might wish to implement in order to protect its IP and make it easier to enforce rights in the future. A priority list of key points can be provided.
IP Audits via the UK Intellectual Property Office (UKIPO) have been steered so far towards businesses that are looking to grow and for which IP is a means for securing growth. Research commissioned by the UKIPO in 2015-2016 showed that most businesses act on the recommendations produced as a consequence of an IP Audit. In the same research, 22% of businesses reported that the recommendations identified new business opportunities such as licensing or franchising (UKIPO source).
Funding available and eligibility
The UKIPO offers funding support for IP Audits through its IP Audits Plus Scheme which is run with the support of its IP Audit Partners: Enterprise Europe Network, Scottish Enterprise or the Welsh Government.
A funded IP Audits programme is available to small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) with clear plans for growth.
What are the funding details? What do I need to do?
Through the scheme, the UKIPO will fund £2,500 (inc. VAT) of the total cost of the IP Audit, totalling £3,000 (inc. VAT). This will be paid directly to the IP professional undertaking the audit, with the final £500 (inc. VAT) to be paid by you.
It is your choice which IP professional to instruct to undertake your IP Audit.
The UKIPO encourage the IP professionals who are carrying out the audit to provide the business with a further one hour of free advice to move the recommendations of the report forward, or establish the next steps. We are happy to offer this and look forward to discussing IP Audits with you and to seeing where your business goes next.
How to apply?
You will need to make an application for funding for the IP Audit with a relevant partner. Enterprise Europe Network covers IP Audits in England through its innovate2succeed (i2s) programme, while Scottish Enterprise and the Welsh Government cover IP Audits in Scotland and Wales respectively. Once received, if your business qualifies, the partner will oversee and submit your application to the UKIPO on your behalf.
We’re here to help
We have conducted IP Audits for a range of clients across different businesses – from traditional manufacturing, cosmetics and FMCGs to FinTech start-ups. Most of the audits have been funded under the scheme outlined above, while other IP audits have been carried out after a client request and at the client’s expense.
We are happy to answer any questions you may have on IP Audits, assessments or invention harvesting, or to assist with a presentation on any or all of these topics. Please get in touch with Dr Catherine Bonner on 023 8000 2022 or email email@example.com.