Andrew Rapacke is Patent Agent with USPatentsNMore LLC and Chris Weiss Attorney at Law P.A., an intellectual property law firm. Andrew may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (407)-801-9368. Please view us at www.uspatentsnmore.com
I am often asked “where do I begin with my company’s Intellectual Property (IP)?” IP is a vital component to every company’s evaluation, but the starting point can be blurry. IP can take many form’s such as: patents (which protect the utility of the invention or the ornamental appearance); trademarks (which protect names, logo’s and symbols); trade secrets (which protect internal lists and procedures); and copyrights (which protect marketing products, instruction manuals and publications, art, compilations, and some software). With such a broad purview, it is evident that nearly every company could benefit from some form of IP protection.
How does its work?
An IP audit is a comprehensive review of a company’s IP assets/risks tailored to a specific market space. An effective audit can immediately assess, protect, and enhance a company’s Intellectual Property. The secondary benefits include putting unused IP to work, implementing internal protective systems, and identifying potential infringement by competitor’s which can avoid costly litigation.
Why is it important?
Audits are important for a number of reasons. Firstly, an audit identifies what rights a company has in its IP. Although this may seem obvious, many companies don’t realize that there may be gaps on their chains of title, or rights assigned outside of their company. Without identifying these assets, a company obviously cannot protect itself from future loss. A basic IP audit can identify points of contention with competitors and keep you one step ahead of the market. Secondly, most professionals, and even attorneys who do not deal with IP on a daily basis, don’t understand the complexity of IP issues. Intellectual Property laws are a web of complex state and federal laws. Yet most businesses don’t take advantage of these protective measures because they are too busy to properly research them or they attempt a “do-it-myself” approach in an attempt to save money thereby failing to realize their full benefit. Lastly, an IP audit is crucial to your company’s valuation if the opportunity for expansion or merger arises. Without understanding the value of those hidden assets within the company, you can’t accurately determine your worth.
What does it Cost?
An IP audit, like most services, is not a “one size fits all” endeavor. Costs range anywhere from $2,500.00 to $10,000.00 depending on a host of variables. However, it may be that an ounce of prevention today is what prevents your company needing a pound of cure tomorrow. So if you are looking for a starting point that is both cost-effective and meaningful, start with an IP audit.