When to review your IP
By effectively managing your IP, you may help create new opportunities for growth and improve your company's viability.
Once you have identified your IP, you can implement policies and procedures to ensure that each time you create new IP it is maintained and protected. A periodic IP stock takes help keep any IP registers up-to-date.
Understanding the IP in your business is especially important in the following instances:
Purchasing a new business
An IP audit should be conducted as part of due diligence processes when considering any purchase or acquisition.
This identifies the company's IP assets and related liabilities, and helps you assess the overall value of the business. If a business is perceived as having particularly valuable IP, a review will assume primary importance in the due diligence task.
Due diligence in connection with a competitive takeover is usually subject to secrecy to avoid the target or the market being alerted to the takeover activity.
In these circumstances, the IP audit might be confined to a review of information on the public record, such as databases of IP registrations. Companies may also seek independent expert verification on matters relating to IP ownership.
Preparing for an ASX listing
During the sale of a business, an IP audit may be necessary to protect the vendors from liabilities that may be imposed by specific laws or the terms of the sale documentation.
This process is also part of due diligence processes.
Commencing a Joint venture, approaching investors or looking to export
If you are considering a joint venture, approaching investors or looking to export it would be wise to conduct a due diligence assessment of your proposed partners.
If the joint venture is to enhance and exploit IP brought to the venture by one partner, other partners should verify that the partner has the necessary IP ownership before they enter into the joint venture agreement. A comprehensive IP review will help establish this.
Enforcing or defending your IP
IP ownership carries certain exclusive rights that provide a competitive advantage.
If you are undertaking a defence of your rights, or responding to an infringement action, it is likely that you will need to conduct an IP evaluation relating specifically to the alleged infringement.
If your rights are threatened, you should take the following steps to defend that advantage:
- thoroughly establish the extent of your rights
- assess the certainty with which they can be enforced
- review the evidence that establishes that the rights exist and that you own them
Once you have identified and protected your IP, safeguard it on an ongoing basis by regularly reviewing the IP Journals. This will alert you to possible infringements.
Last Updated: 13/12/2012