What is an Intellectual Property (IP) audit?
An IP audit comprises a systematic review of a business, which generates an inventory of information relevant to the creation, identification, maintenance, use, protection and enforcement of IP rights.
The audit process should involve undertaking a comprehensive review of a business’ working practices, IP assets, related agreements, relevant policies and compliance procedures.
The exercise is a powerful strategic tool for managing and maximising return on a business’ IP investment. The inventory contains information useful in understanding what is happening in the underlying business and market.
Why conduct an IP audit?
Historically it was believed that IP audits were only required by large companies involved in the creation or the development of industrial innovation. Today however, every business owns, and/or makes use of a variety of IP, and should therefore undertake an IP audit on a regular basis.
An IP audit and the resulting inventory will assist businesses to identify:
- the IP assets being created by the business;
- the IP assets being used by the business;
- how IP assets are being used or not used;
- whether the IP assets being used are owned by the business or by a third party;
- whether the IP assets being used infringe third party rights or whether the business’ IP assets are being infringed by third parties
and to determine in light of this information, what action should be taken with respect to each IP asset to best serve the relevant goals of the business, and to maintain and improve the business’ competitive edge in the relevant market(s).