The IP Audit scheme is a government funded program that has now been in place for a few years and has proven very successful with start-ups and SMEs. In this post we explain briefly how the scheme works and what advantages it could bring to your business.

What is an IP Audit?

An IP audit is a review of all your IP assets, IP management procedures and IP strategies you have in place. The aim of an audit is to highlight current issues and provide you with some guidance to develop a robust IP strategy in the future so that you can make the most out of your IP assets.

All Companies, no matter how small and young they are, possess some form of IP assets. These may be related to patents, trade marks, designs or copyright as well as trade secrets, know-how and databases. An IP audit would typically review all of these areas and encompass both registered and unregistered IP rights. An audit may for example help you define what patentable inventions you own and devise a future patent filing strategy based on your target markets. Or it may help you identify registrable trade marks and provide guidance to develop your future branding strategy.

Typically, an IP audit would also review IP assignments, NDAs, licenses, directors’/employment contracts and generally speaking all agreements that may affect your IP ownership and IP management to make sure that the correct measures are in place.

What is the IP Audit scheme and who can apply?

The IP Audit scheme is a program sponsored by the UK Intellectual Property Office (IPO) and administered by one of the IPO recognised partners, which in Scotland is Scottish Enterprise(the recognised partners for England and Wales are Growth Accelerator and the Welsh Government respectively).

The program provides qualifying companies with an IP Audit of a value up to £3000 (incl. VAT), to which the company must contribute £500 and the remaining part, up to £2500, is funded by a Scottish Enterprise grant.

The grant is awarded to potential high growth, innovative Companies who can prove a sound business need to develop an IP strategy.

What is the process?

Once you are engaged with Scottish Enterprise programs, your designated contact can advise on whether you may be eligible for the scheme. Your SE contact will also guide you through the application process and submit the application on your behalf.

After the application is accepted by the UK IPO, Scottish Enterprise will provide you with a list of few IP professional firms that are eligible for carrying out the IP Audit under the scheme. You may then engage with each of them via a face-to-face or a phone meeting in order to select your preferred provider.

You may also suggest a provider yourself if you already have a preferred IP firm that you wish to work with. Scottish Enterprise will advise on whether they are eligible for carrying out the audit under the scheme and if they are you may be free to proceed directly without engaging with others.

You will then work directly with the selected IP firm to carry out the IP Audit and at completion you will receive a written report. Once the report is approved by yourself and by Scottish Enterprise, it is submitted to the IPO.

What can Scintilla offer?

Our patent attorneys carry out IP Audits for Scottish Enterprise on a regular basis and have developed a sound expertise in working with a variety of Clients.

If you choose to work with us, we will make sure that you get the most out of the IP audit while staying within the budget of the scheme. We also strive to keep a flexible approach and build our audit strategy around the time you have available and your desired amount of interaction with us.

Generally, we would have an initial meeting with you to get familiar with your business model, current IP strategy, future plans and expectations from the audit. We then provide you with a scope of work and, if you approve it, send this to Scottish Enterprise. Once the scope of work has been accepted, we provide you with a list of documents and information required to carry out the audit and review it.

Depending on your needs, we may cover different things in the Audit, including:

The whole process generally takes 1-2 months. By the end of the process, you should have a detailed understanding of your IP Position and how it could be improved.

Following completion of the audit, we offer a free of charge meeting to discuss the outcomes of the audit and any question you have.

For more information contact Scottish Enterprise or gives us a call