Intellectual Property (IP) audits

An Intellectual Property (IP) audit is a systematic review of the assets owned, used or acquired by a business.

It allows a business to gain a clear picture of their IP portfolio and associated risks and imperfections (if any), and may uncover under-utilised IP which can then be used and capitalised on by the business going forward. An IP audit also enables a business to devise and/or improve policies and procedures to ensure key IP is maintained and improved.

IP audits should be performed regularly and periodically. A business which understands its IP is often in a far better position to attract buyers and investors since it can answer more capably the inevitable questions concerning what IP rights it owns.

Scope

  • Aim?
  • Which organisations or business units should be covered?
  • Which product or services should be covered?

Cost

  • Will vary depending on the size of the organisation and the amount of IP to be reviewed.

Key contacts

  • Who in the business is best placed to assist the IP auditor with an understanding of the business and
    its IP?

Identify the IP rights owned and used by the business – best accomplished by working through a questionnaire.

The aim of this is to:

  • capture all readily identifiable IP
  • review any relevant licences used or granted by the business
  • determine who owns the IP and whether the business has the appropriate rights to use it
  • identify whether there are any problems that need addressing or disputes that need resolving.

Final step is to produce a written report, tailored to the business, setting out key findings and recommendations.

In particular the report should include:

  • a list of the IP rights owned and used by the business
  • strengths and weaknesses of each
  • recommendations on how the business can improve its position
  • suggestions as to what remedial actions are required (if any) to fix any imperfections in the IP
  • suggestions as to any policies and procedures to be created and/or improved upon concerning the IP.