Identifying the purpose of the IP audit will help you to determine the audit's scope, whether broad or narrow.
It is advisable to develop a customised check-list for your IP strategy once the purpose of conducting the internal IP audit has been determined.
These documents should be assembled and checked against the list of your companies’ IP to assess the extent of protection you currently have and any imminent future changes, such as rights expiration or renewal.
Registered IP should be reviewed to determine what applicability it has to the company’s products and services. Patents that have been filed may not protect the latest products and may no longer be relevant. Trade marks may not be in use or might have been modified. In relation to the countries of interest, filings may not have been made in markets that were not relevant some years ago and recently became relevant from either sales or manufacturing perspective.
You should consider ways to allocate your IP in order to maximise income and minimise expenditures, in accordance with the following points:
The company should also understand the types of products on which the company intends to focus its resources, as well as the markets it intends to serve. Following the audit, it will be possible to outline an IP portfolio that matches the company’s business objectives. This will highlight any key unregistered and/or unprotected IP that should be dealt with as a priority. It will also help to identify and reduce the costs of unused IP assets.
Having established an overview of your business’s IP via the audit, it is important to put in place procedures for the effective management of these assets. This could include:
Infringement of third party rights or failure to protect IP assets may be costly, and risk mitigation is important to avoid incurring of in unexpected litigation costs. An audit should review the systems in place to guard against IP risks. These risks need to be regularly analysed.