IP Audits: Making the Most of Your Intellectual Property

May 2011

Is your company paying to maintain patents and trademark registrations that it no longer needs? Has it identified all its intellectual property for which it could collect royalties from potential licensees? Has it taken sufficient measures to mitigate the risk of costly third-party infringement claims? If it is about to divest a product line or division, does it know what issues buyer’s counsel may raise during due diligence? If you are unsure, your company should consider an intellectual property (IP) audit to ensure it is maximizing the value – and minimizing the expense – of its IP portfolio.

An “IP audit” is the identification and cataloguing of a company’s IP assets, typically for the purposes of determining their legal status, value, and the means to best protect and capitalize on them. A company also can use an IP audit to identify potential IP-related risks, such as pending or potential claims by or against third parties for infringement, misappropriation or other violations of IP rights. T his article outlines the circumstances under which a company might consider conducting an IP audit and provides some guidelines for performing the audit and incorporating its results into the company’s strategic initiatives. When an IP audit is performed effectively and efficiently, the resulting cost savings and increased revenues typically dwarf the audit’s cost and allow the company to better manage and leverage its intellectual property assets.

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