Intellectual property (IP) has the potential to drive the growth and value for your business by delivering competitive advantages and creating new revenue streams.

Understanding what IP your business has and identifying its strategic importance to your business.

Conducting an IP Audit is the first step towards realising the value of such assets!

What is an IP Audit?

An IP audit is a systematic review of the IP assets (including registered and unregistered, existing and future) owned or used by your business.

The IP Audit will help you to:

  • identify existing and potential IP assets;
  • identify issues around ownership of the IP assets which are strategic to your business;
  • identify coverage and gaps in protecting the relevant IP assets;
  • identifying IP assets of 3rd parties which your business uses, which may pose a risk for your business;
  • identify under-utilised assets that can help your business generate revenue; and
  • providing IP-specific recommendations to help you best manage, protect and exploit its IP assets.

Our IP Audit Reports are flexible and tailored around the needs and goals of your business – some businesses may benefit from quite a broad review of all their IP assets, and others may benefit more from an audit delving into very specific IP-related issues.

How can an IP audit benefit your business?

An IP Audit can further add value to your business and its future growth by:

  • protecting your business and minimising risk;
  • identifying potential cost savings;
  • identifying value and opportunities;
  • creating new potential revenue streams; and
  • demonstrating value to investors or business partners.

When to conduct an IP Audit

An IP Audit can be carried out at any time. However, key times to think about conducting an IP Audit are:

  • During the first year of trading - to ensure you are protecting your IP and the relevant policies and procedures are implemented from the outset;
  • When seeking investment or considering a merger or acquisition - a strong and well-maintained IP portfolio can help to drive the value of the business and make it more attractive to investors;
  • When launching a new product or service – ensure you are appropriately protecting all IP within the new product/service before going to market;
  • When reassessing your business strategy -whether your business is in its early stages or just changed course, conducting an IP Audit and developing an effective IP strategy can help deliver your commercial goals.

Costs of an IP audit and eligibility for funding

The cost of an IP Audit can vary depending on the IP assets and complexity.

However, for UK companies (who meet the criteria set out below), the Government, via the Intellectual Property Office and Innovate UK Edge, is offering grants towards the cost of an IP Audit.

If you are eligible, the cost of the IP Audit is fixed at £3,000, and the IPO will pay up to £2,500, meaning your business would only need to contribute the remaining £500.

To be eligible, your business must be:

  • an SME (fewer than 250 employees and turnover of not more than £41million);
  • engaged with one of the IPO partner business support schemes. The recognised partners are Innovate UK Edge, Scottish Enterprise and the Welsh Government; and
  • able to demonstrate that the IP Audit will form a key part of achieving your business growth plans.

Once funding is approved, you will need to appoint a firm of IP professionals (such as Myerson) to work with you to conduct the IP Audit report.

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The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.