Why you should audit your intellectual property12 Jan 2017
Intellectual property (IP) is a crucial asset for businesses and that is why carrying out an IP-audit is highly recommended.
Intellectual property rights (IPRs) cover four main categories:
1. Trademarks – which protect brand names, logos, 3D shapes and even slogans;
2. Copyright – which protects original literary, musical and artistic works (an artistic work can be anything from a scribble on a notepad to David Bowie’s Starman);
3. Design rights – these can be subdivided into registered designs, which protect original 2D and 3D features of the appearance of a product that does not relate to its function, and unregistered designs, which protect the design of functional products provided they do more than enable the product to fit with another;
4. Patents – which protect novel inventions capable of industrial application.
Intellectual property is of critical importance to businesses and the economy. A recent study published by the Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market (OHIM) and the European Patent Office (EPO), demonstrates that firms which own IPRs have on average a 29 per cent higher revenue per employee than firms that do not. This was even higher when focusing on small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) which have a 32 per cent higher revenue if they own IPRs; with those who own trademarks and designs having the highest revenue-per-employee increases. This clearly shows how important and beneficial IPRs are to businesses and especially SMEs. Furthermore, IPRs are valuable assets which can greatly enhance a business’ worth should it be sold, as having them properly protected can be very attractive to potential investors.
We offer the service of an IP audit whereby we can review your intellectual property, both registered and unregistered, and provide guidance on how best to protect and exploit it in the future. The areas we would look at include:
Website design and domain name protection;
Relationships with customers and suppliers;
Brand name and logo protection;
Do your IPRs belong to the business, an employee or a contractor?
Can your products be protected by copyright, design rights or patents?
Our expertise across the entire spectrum of IPRs means that we are able to review, in depth, all aspects of your business with regard to how they can be better protected and utilised from an IP perspective.
If you would be interested in an IP-audit or would simply like further advice on this or any other intellectual property issue then please feel free to contact one of our IP solicitors on 0161 838 7816.