What IS an IP audit, anyway?
An IP audit is a systematic categorization of all of your business’s intellectual property, including but not limited to:
- Inventions (patented and unpatented)
- Copyrights (registered and unregistered)
- Trademarks (registered and unregistered)
- Trade Dress (registered and unregistered)
- Trade Secrets (obviously unregistered)
This categorization, with a simultaneous search for areas where your IP may have “holes,” is done by an intellectual property attorney in cooperation with your firm’s management team; despite the word “audit,” this is NOT an accounting function (although certainly an accountant belongs on your firm’s management team and probably on the IP audit team).
Use an IP audit as due diligence when you plan to merge, divest, buy, sell, create, license, franchise your property. Also use an IP audit when there has been a shift in the law that governs IP.
For more information about IP audits, read Nancy’s article, published in the December 2003 issue of Les Nouvelles (the flagship publication of the Licensing Executives’ Society), The Intellectual Property Audit (.pdf format) or visit our IP Audit webpage.