Every business generates Intellectual Property (IP). IP is a key asset, but more often than not, most businesses will be unaware of the full extent of their ownership of IP rights and may not know how valuable it can be to their organisation.

Some IP may be familiar, such as trade marks, copyright or patents, but this does not mean that such IP within a business has been protected effectively, if at all. Equally, there are many other aspects of IP which impact on most businesses, such as the rights of third parties, design rights or commercial agreements. If these aspects are not identified it may leave a business vulnerable, and it can also mean that substantial investment is not protected which, from a commercial point of view, may be problematic.

How does an IP Audit work?

Each IP Audit is unique and tailored to the needs of the organisation and involves an in-depth examination of all the IP rights associated with that organisation. This normally includes having a discussion with you and looking at contracts and branding, amongst other things.

A written report is then supplied to you with a full breakdown of everything that the review has identified, from which we are then able to provide advice and a commercial strategy going forward.

Why is an IP Audit important?

Branding can often be what separates an organisation from its competitors; as such it is important to have it protected to ensure that it cannot be copied. The IP Audit will review what brand protection you have already and will identify where further protection could assist you.

The IP Audit will also identify ownership of any IP rights that subsist in designs/ideas/products/services and will provide advice on how to protect the same.

We can also review relevant IP agreements to ensure that you own the rights in any IP that has been created for you by third parties.

The IP Audit will identify what IP you own, can protect and will provide the business with an IP strategy for the future.

What are the benefits?

Intellectual property is a crucial aspect of any business and can often be monetised particularly in respect of copyright, designs and patents. Protecting your IP rights can prevent others benefiting from such rights without your permission. More importantly, knowing and having a grasp on all relevant IP aspects on your business can add substantial value; after all it is important not to forget that IP is an asset, albeit intangible.

Having a good understanding of the IP owned by a business can allow for new opportunities and potentially even new products to be identified.

Who can benefit from it?

IP will be relevant to almost every type of business; therefore an IP Audit can be beneficial to any organisation of any size.

Start-up businesses will benefit from recommendations as to how to best and most efficiently protect their IP, which will provide benefits in the long run. Longer established companies are more likely to see the benefits in terms of ensuring they have protected what they should have effectively, be that registrations or contracts, and to check whether any contracts or IP registrations need to be updated.

At Stephens Scown, we have conducted IP Audits for businesses across a range of industries including technology, healthcare, management consultancy, retail and many others.

Don’t just take our word for it

Research by the UK Intellectual Property Office indicates that most businesses that have had an IP Audit acted on, or are acting on, the recommendations as set out in the report provided.

The UKIPO research highlights that nearly a third of business that carried out an IP Audit found that their funding stream, both equity and grant funding, increased as a direct result of the report and the recommendations they had been given.

Undertaking an IP Audit can be hugely beneficial to all organisations. We have conducted over 100 audits at Stephens Scown in the last 6 years, and continue to work with the businesses after the IP Audit report has been provided to assist with their strategy.

If you would like to know more about how an IP Audit could benefit your organisation, or would like to undertake one, please do not hesitate to contact Jessica O’Riordan, who is a solicitor in our IP team (and has conducted in excess of 50 IP Audits) on 01392 210700 or email ip.it@stephens-scown.co.uk.