Intellectual property (IP) can be a valuable business asset and can form the basis of core corporate success and therefore must be managed efficiently to enjoy their economic benefit. Management of IP is accomplished by IP audit. IP audit is the first step on the path towards aligning IP strategy with business strategy. Importantly an audit uncovers assets that do not contribute to the financial well-being of the company and unnecessarily consume valuable corporate resources. Thus an IP audit can expose both weakness as well as strengths of the company. Some audits are strategic while others take place after an incident.
Advantages of IP Audit
- Reveal opportunities to save money
- Create new revenues
- Increase efficiencies
- Improve competitiveness
Phases of IP Audit
An IP audit consists of the entire IP lifecycle. It includes auditing all internal IPs as well as External IPs. Internal IPs include ongoing R&D, status of pending application, Issued IP rights and commercialisation and licensing. External IPs include contracted IP, licensed IP, IP owned by acquisition or merger and joint ventures. While planning for an audit objectives of audit, scope of audit and areas of inquiry must be taken into consideration. The general Phases of an Audit are as follows:
Phase -i Identification of issues
Phase 1 helps leaders to manage an existing portfolio more efficiently and strategically. It helps in identifying the readily Identifiable IP such as registered trademarks, copyrights or patents owned by the business, any licenses to the third parties or any joint ventures. Once the IPs are identified, they are surveyed to check who owns them, whether they are still enforceable and are used to the maximum advantage.
Phase -ii benchmarking
Phase ii helps in establishing the Quality score of the Intellectual property and gives a fair understanding of its position in the competitive industry. Parameters such as prosecution success, prosecution breadth, and external recognition are studied and compared with the same parameters in the competitive IPs. This studies assist in identifying opportunities for economic growth in the next phase.
Phase-iii identifying the opportunities
Based on the information collected in previous phases the strategies and opportunities are identified and worked upon. It helps in two ways, first by cost saving and second by increasing business revenues.
IP Audit Report
The resulting Report may cover following issues:
- Timing or maintenance issues like filing deadlines or renewal fees etc.
- Ownership and Liability issues
- Commercialization and Strategic issues
Benefits of IP Management
IP management system is beneficial to the organisations in the following ways:
- Helps in reducing costs, building additional revenue and creation of incremental corporate value
- Increases competitiveness as well as connects various players together
- Automates the repeatable processes
- Provides instant visibility to key data.