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Why every business needs to conduct an IP Audit

Intellectual property (IP) laws protect your intangible ideas and creations and give you exclusive rights to use your IP and branding. IP is an essential and valuable part of every business but its true worth is often overlooked. A regular IP audit is vital to improving your business systems so that you can stay competitive and put in place procedures and policies to manage your IP assets.

What is an IP Audit?

An IP Audit is a review of the IP assets held by your business to identify them and ensure your ownership of them is protected.  This leads to a strategy on how best to acquire, maintain and protect your IP and how to exploit its value.

Why should a business conduct an IP Audit?

By using a system to identify your IP assets and their strengths or weaknesses, you can make decisions as to how best to exploit them, and protect your IP rights against infringement from your competitors or ‘copy cats’ as well as identify any potential issues you may have with other IP owners.

IP Audits are important as they can help:

  • Evaluate and strengthen your IP assets;
  • Analyse used and any unused IP assets;
  • Correct any issues with your IP rights;
  • Put in place relevant policies and compliance procedures;
  • Identify IP infringement risks;
  • Implement best practices for IP asset management; and
  • Improve competitiveness in the relevant market.

How is an IP Audit carried out?

For an IP audit to be effective, it is best conducted by an IP professional who has the necessary skill and experience.  The conduct of an IP audit requires technical expertise and an understanding of your business environment to analyse what type of IP audit is required. For example, the requirements of a start-up company will be quite different from when a business is well established or when a business is considering implementing a new marketing initiative.

It is also important that your IP advisor keeps you up to date with new developments in IP to ensure that your IP management plan and policies remain effective. An IP audit should be the focus of every business to ensure IP is not overlooked since a company’s success in the marketplace and its revenue may be directly dependent on the good management of its intangible branding and IP assets.

For more information, or for any other Intellectual Property law related queries, please contact Rob Ffrench, Partner.