Briefings

IP Audits

Uncovering Your Hidden Assets: with the help of funding from the UK Intellectual Property Office

If you’re a business, it’s almost certain that you have intellectual property (IP), some of which you may not know about.  Just like any other business asset, there is real and potential value in this IP.   Aside from the more commonly known IP rights of patents and trade marks, hidden within your business may be a whole range of other IP assets which, once identified, could be put to use.  These IP assets may, for example, be in the form of:

  • Granted patents and pending patent applications, as well as potentially patentable inventions
  • Technical know-how
  • Trade secrets
  • Registered trade marks and applications, potentially registrable trade marks and other aspects of your brand
  • Domain names
  • Registered designs and applications
  • Unregistered designs
  • Copyright (e.g. in software, databases, websites, company documentation etc.)
  • Database rights, semiconductor topography rights
  • Plant variety rights
  • Licenses and other agreements

In order to extract value from your IP, it is important to know what you have.  This can be done through an IP Audit.  The good news is that, for businesses identified as having potential to grow, this can largely be funded through the IP Audits Plus scheme offered by the UK Intellectual Property Office (UKIPO).  The funding available for IP audits is to the value of £3,000 (just £400 of which must be contributed by the business).  The funding can be used to review most aspects of a company’s IP, as listed above, but cannot be used for any direct actions, such as the filing of patent applications or the drafting of legal agreements.

Our clients who have been through the process to apply for funding have found it to be relatively simple.  The process is also remarkably fast, with the UKIPO making its decision within about 3 to 4 days of receiving an application.

On approval, the business chooses an IP professional to carry out the work.  This could be a Patent Attorney, Trade Mark Attorney or IP Solicitor, depending on the questions to be addressed in the audit.  The audit should provide a clear picture of the business’s IP assets, provide recommendations on how to manage them, possibilities for maximising the value from their IP, cost projections, as well as identifying any potential risks.  The IP audit report is confidential.

At Greaves Brewster, we have conducted audits for a number of companies of varying types and size.  We can work with you to ensure that you receive the greatest possible benefit from the audit process.

If an IP audit might be of interest to your business, please do get in touch by phone +44(0)1934 745 880 or send an email.