Withers & Rogers - IP Audit FAQs
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How will an IP audit help my company?

An IP audit can provide a company with:

  • an overview of its IP assets;
  • an understanding of the ownership of any IP used by the business;
  • advice regarding whether a patent can be obtained for an invention;
  • advice on the ability to register trade marks;
  • advice regarding the ability to protect designs (the appearance of products);
  • advice on confidentiality and the use of non-disclosure agreements;
  • guidance on IP strategy and management to help the business develop and grow;
  • guidance regarding whether or not any acts being carried out by the business could be infringing the IP rights of third parties; and
  • advice on what actions should be taken to maximise the IP assets of the business and/or to minimise any potential risk to the business.

In addition, the IP audit may identify:

  • any unregistered trade mark rights, including trading names, branding and domain names;
  • any unregistered design rights;
  • trade secrets;
  • copyright material; and
  • any IP-relevant contracts, licenses, or agreements that are in place.

What is the purpose of an IP audit?

A company’s IP assets are often undervalued. In some case, activities can be overlooked altogether. However, a business’ IP assets can be key to helping the business grow.

An IP audit is carried out to investigate the IP assets of a business, and to provide advice and guidance as to how to maximise the value of these IP assets to help develop the business.

The IP audit process can reveal where the IP assets may provide an opportunity of further potential for growth of the business.

What is the IP audit process?

The attorney’s objective is to find out as much as they can about the business including the sectors in which they operate, the business’ plans, and the business’ USP.

This information may be gathered from in-person or online meetings, a questionnaire, reviews of products, manuals and marketing material, reviews of license agreements, searches of electronic databases such as patent and trade mark registries, and/or competitor analysis.

An IP audit concludes with a report being provided to the company which summarises all the IP that has been discovered.

The report is tailored to the needs of the business and will provide recommendations regarding how to maximise the return on your research and development investment and how to integrate your IP assets into your wider business strategy.

What is the cost of an IP audit?

The UK Government’s IP Audits Plus scheme part funds an IP audit to the tune of £3,000 including VAT, with the UKIPO contributing £2,500 and the remaining £500 being paid by the company.

To apply for an audit, you must be an SME with fewer than 250 employees, and you must be able to demonstrate that the IP audit will form a key part of achieving your business growth plans. You can apply for an IP audit only if you are engaged on one of the IPO’s partner support schemes. They are Innovate UK Edge (formally Enterprise Europe Network) the Welsh Government, and Scottish Enterprise.

The IP audit offer does not include funding for preparing, drafting and filing applications for any IP rights. Rather, the IP Audit Report will provide recommendations on the actions needed and the associated cost projections for these.

For those companies who are not eligible for the IP Audits Plus scheme, the cost of an IP audit will depend on the size and type of the company in question and upon the required depth and purpose of the audit.

What further funding is available after I have received the IP Audit Report?

“IP Access” is a further grant available to support innovative businesses that have benefited from the IP Audits Plus scheme, which allows them to implement one or more of the recommendations included in the IP Audit Report. Businesses can apply for the IP Access grant which offers up to £5,000 including VAT in additional funding. Unlike the IP Audits Plus scheme, eligible businesses are not required to make a contribution.

Please note that there is a limited amount of money for the IP Access scheme and any funding is subject to availability.