An IP audit report provides an overview of the existing IP assets owned by your innovation business to help you manage and protect them.
The value of a company’s IP – the result of its knowledge, creative and innovative activities - can be undervalued and sometimes overlooked altogether. Yet it can be central to the growth potential of a business.
Protecting IP assets can give your business a time-limited form of monopoly, providing the chance to enjoy a return on investment, increase competitiveness and prevent others from making gains from your efforts.
Read on to learn more about the benefits of our IP audit service.
What is an IP audit?
An Intellectual Property (IP) audit identifies existing and potential IP assets. It can be conducted by professional auditors or undertaken independently within your business. In addition to identifying assets, an IP audit report may also identify risks and include advice on protecting your IP.
Types of Intellectual Property
Most businesses will own some form of IP, regardless of the sector they operate in.
Types of IP could include;
- Copyright - to establish rights to artistic or literary work
- Patents and trademarks - to establish IP rights for prototypes, inventions, products or services
- Trade secrets - to establish rights to confidential information to sell or licence
What does an IP audit cover?
An Intellectual Property audit could include;
- An overview of assets (including registered IP and unregistered IP)
- An overview of their commercial potential
- An overview of potential risks
- IP strategy recommendations
The scope of the audit will depend on your needs as a business.
What’s the importance of an IP audit?
Conducting an IP audit can help to identify, protect and future-proof key assets that are part of your business, increasing your revenue stream and potential for growth.
- Protect your business and minimise risk
- Inform your business plan and strategy
- Inform costing decisions to save money
- Identify business opportunities and under-used assets to exploit
- Potential to create new revenue streams
- Demonstrate value to potential investors or business partners
- Assess the potential of new business markets
Does my business need an IP audit?
All innovation businesses could benefit from an IP audit. Whether you’re looking to protect a new technology, process or service - it’s worth taking the time to assess. The scope of the audit may depend on the size of your business, as earlier stage businesses may have fewer assets to identify and analyse.
When to conduct an IP audit
You may want to conduct an audit in the first year of trading to ensure protection is in place from the get-go.
Other key times include; when launching a new product or service, when seeking investment for your innovation, before commencing on joint ventures or when reassessing your business strategy.
How to conduct an IP audit - our service
To help companies define the IP assets they own, so they can then develop a strategy for protecting and exploiting those assets on a commercial basis, Innovate UK EDGE provides a part-funded IP audit in partnership with the Intellectual Property Office.
The audit provides businesses with a strategic overview of their IP assets, including registered and unregistered IP rights, and assesses their commercial viability. The report is tailored to the needs of your business and will include recommendations and steps to take to fully maximise the value of your IP and to develop an IP management plan to integrate your assets into your wider business strategy.
The company itself must choose an appropriate IP professional to conduct the audit. You are advised to look at the websites of the Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys and the Chartered Institute of Trade Mark Attorneys to assist you with the selection and briefing process. You can also talk with your innovation specialist to identify local IP professionals and use these resources on seeking IP advice.
IP audit costs
The audit offer doesn’t include funding for preparing, drafting and filing applications for IP rights. The IP professional will provide cost projections for the delivery of the services required to take forward the recommendations. This will allow you to budget effectively in order to manage the development and protection of your IP. Follow-up support from your innovation specialist will also help you to identify your next steps and priorities.
IP audit case study - Malted Waffle Company
The Tamworth-based Malted Waffle Company has been providing the hospitality industry with waffle machines for more than 30 years, so it knows a thing or two about waffles. As it looks to expand overseas and capture new growth opportunities, it turns out that it needed to know a lot more about its Intellectual Property (IP).
The Innovate UK EDGE IP audit was used by the Malted Waffle Company. “The support provided by Innovate UK EDGE and the IPO office regarding the IP audit has significantly opened our eyes as to the importance of getting our brand properly protected prior to the significant growth we are planning, both in the UK and overseas,” says its MD Laura Barrett.
The IP audit revealed that there was further potential for growth for the business, identifying a specific element of the new waffle machine that the company had developed was capable of being exploited in other industries. “we will be seeking patent protection for this to maximise the commercial potential,” says Laura
How to protect your IP
Protect your IP with help from our specialists.
Our IP audit service provides you with a detailed report that sets out clear recommendations to leverage value from your IP, including a plan to integrate assets into a wider business strategy.
For more information about accessing an IP audit, contact our team.
Get started by exploiting business innovation to grow and scale.
The support provided by EEN and the IPO office regarding the IP audit has significantly opened our eyes as to the importance of getting our brand properly protected prior to the significant growth we are planning
Laura Barrett, MD, The Malted Waffle Company