IP portfolio management

Increased competition through the Internet means that it’s very important for you to understand and manage your IP effectively. IP Management means taking control of, planning and organising the IP affairs of your business in line with a policy for achieving clearly defined objectives. If you don’t properly manage your IP affairs, you may not be aware of the existence of IP, you may not recognise its value or benefits, or you may expose your business to risk. The process of IP Management includes the following steps:

  • Identify
  • Record
  • Use
  • Value
  • Protect
  • Exploit

Identification of IP assets (IP register)

The identification of your intangible IP assets means gathering all business information that relates to IP and IP ownership. This enables you to take charge of your IP and make important decisions about it, including any potential ownership risks.

As part of a systematic review of your IP, we can help you identify and classify the assets in your IP portfolio and create a register of:

  • registered and unregistered rights including trade marks, copyright, designs, patents, confidential information and know-how
  • ownership of IP (proof of ownership through records, registrations or agreements)
  • IP clauses in employment and contractor agreements
  • IP agreements (assignment, licenses including any cross-licences)
  • commercial information, financial information, know-how and trade secrets

IP advice (IP strategy)

We can advise you on the existing position of your IP and provide a strategy for you to manage it. As part of this process, we’ll ascertain whether you own your IP and, if not, what right you have in relation to it, if any. We’ll also examine whether there are any restrictions on your ability to freely use the IP or if there are issues of joint relationship.

This process will help you uncover IP assets, identify obsolete assets to reduce your costs, and identify any threats to your bottom line. It will also enable you to devise a plan to maintain and improve your market position.

IP strategy considerations include:

  • IP agreements (ensure contracts are in place which clarify ownership of IP assets)
  • Control and authorised use of IP assets
  • Protection of IP (measures taken locally and overseas)
  • Commercial exploitation of IP
  • Employments agreements (IP ownership, confidentiality and non-compete clauses)
  • External supplier agreements (IP ownership, confidentiality and non-compete clauses)
  • Potential conflicts of interest
  • Past actions taken and next actions needed (time-critical reminder system, ongoing IP audits)
  • Past costs and future expected costs (budgets)
  • Risk management when you commission a person to write or design any materials for you
  • Risk management when you or your employees use materials which were not created by your business

IP portfolio management (IP policy)

We can help you draft an IP policy for your business, which will include measures to protect existing IP assets and future IP assets. An IP policy will be driven by your business objectives and strategies, but will generally include the following:

  • an objective
  • a scope
  • types of IP that are important to the business
  • the principles of the business in managing the IP
  • how to approach IP acquisition, creation and protection
  • IP ownership and recognising the contributions of employees
  • reporting and reviews

We can also provide an education programme to create IP awareness among your employees and contractors in relation to the identification and reporting of IP and any follow-up IP audits required.

IP implementation plan (Getting it done)

We can help you put an IP implementation plan into practice, which will provide for the ongoing management of your IP. Your implementation plan will include strategies for market monitoring, to gather competitive intelligence, and to research market trends and opportunities that your competitors have left open.

  • a plan for implementing the policy and ongoing management practices
  • a procedure for the ongoing review of the IP