Intellectual property is an asset. Much like the computer on your desk, or the company car. But likely far more valuable than both. Get it audited!
Why Intellectual Property is Forgotten
The answer may surprise you, but intellectual property can be forgotten because it is not necessarily apparent in day-to-day business activities. Once developed and appropriate IP registrations applied for, it gets forgotten in the dust bins of a companies office.
Too, Intellectual Property attorneys come and go. This is where most IP is held, with a companies IP attorney. And, many attorneys are still doing things a bit old fashioned and may not have proper systems in place to remind them of registration renewals, actions, or to even be on top of mark monitoring, etc.
What Is an Intellectual Property Audit?
An intellectual property audit is an examination of a company's intellectual property portfolio to identify opportunities and risks. The audit includes a review of the company's patents, trademarks, copyrights, and trade secrets. The audit also assesses the company's policies and procedures for protecting its intellectual property.
What's Included In An Intellectual Property Audit
An intellectual property audit is an assessment of a company's IP assets, including patents, trademarks, copyrights, and trade secrets. The audit can be used to identify potential IP problems and opportunities, and to develop strategies for protecting and exploiting IP.
If the IP is in active use, or has intrensic future value or historical significance, it should be part of a comprehensive IP audit.
Intellectual Property Audit Demands
The demand for IP audits is not significant. That is why we educate those that are looking into hiring E.F.V. & Co. on the importance of good IP management and best practices for IP. We want to ensure your IP is properly managed as a company's IP assets are likely the most valuable asset owned in the company.
When You Don't Conduct IP Audit - 2022 Case Example
In June of 2022, Hoa Sen Co., Ltd. a Vietnamese company who owned the name "ZACOPE" for one of their products, came to realize a drastic change in their financials. They then approached their attorney who looked into the matter and learned that another brand was registerd named "ZACOP". It was granted the trademark registration becuause the ZACOPE trademark had expired!
How ZACOPE Trademark Was Dropped
It is not known exactly how or why Hao Sen Co., Ltd. ended up in this situation exactly, but it is safe to say that the law firm representing them KenFox IP and Law Office dropped the ball.
In a big way.
You see, it took two decades for the ZACOPE brand to build and become successful. But for two years no one was looking. Two years is approximately how long it takes to register a mark in Vietnam. So in the time no one was looking, up came ZACOP who was able to register the name that would otherwise considered confusingly similar in any other situation.
The trademark was not monitored for sometime. A competitor seized the opportunity and voila!
Does My Business Need an Intellectual Property Audit?
If you're not sure whether your business needs an intellectual property audit, here are some questions to ask yourself:
- Do you have a clear understanding of what intellectual property your business owns?
- Do you know how to protect and defend your intellectual property?
- Do you have policies and procedures in place to ensure that your intellectual property is used correctly and not infringed upon?
- Do you keep track of who has access to your intellectual property and how it's being used?
- Are you regularly monitoring your competitors to see if they are infringing on your intellectual property rights?
If you answered "no" to any of these questions, then it's likely that your business could benefit from an intellectual property audit. An IP audit can help you identify gaps in your IP protection strategy and make sure that you're taking the necessary steps to safeguard your valuable assets.
Does the Company Lack Certain IP Rights That it Needs In Order to Build a New Product?
What if the company does not have the intellectual property rights it needs to build a new product? This could be because the company does not have the necessary patents, trademarks, or copyrights. Without these IP rights, the company may not be able to produce or sell the new product. This could limit the company's growth and profitability.
Audits help identify opportunities. This is because when our firm conducts intellectual property audits, the audit may also reveal missed chances to secure important IP and the audit may identify existing IP that may merit legal action against competitors.
How IP Audits Conducted
IP audits are designed to assess an organization's compliance with intellectual property laws and regulations. The audit process typically begins with a review of the organization's policies and procedures related to IP. This is followed by interviews with key personnel and a review of relevant documentation. The goal of an IP audit is to identify any areas of non-compliance and make recommendations for improvement.
E.F.V. & Co. uses a two-proned approach. We are led by our practice leading lawyer who then uses private investigators to assist in the audit. This allows for the practice leader to get the lay of the land when conducting the audit to review open source material that may identify infringements previously unknown.
IP Lawyer Plus Private Investigators Makes Us Unique
Most companies only hand their IP over to a lawyer and feel good about it. First, you need to hire an IP lawyer, someone with credentials and experience in IP litigation and prosecutions. Our IP services are led by IP attorneys.
Second, our private investigation staff can utilize powerful intelligence known as OSINT (Open-Source Intelligence) to help find potentially infringing marks. Also, should the team find possible infringement, they can also dig deeper into the who, what, when, where's of the matter.
Important intellecutal property and the management of intellectual property deserves no less.
Avoid Costly Intellectual Property Litigation
Hiring a lawyer to bail you out of a bad situation is not a good idea when your company is faced with intellectual property litigation. That is why an audit is paramount to company management and ip audits help executives manage that property with precision and can rest assured that all their eggs in that basket are property cared for.
Don't wait for an event driven IP audit to take place. This usually occurs after a company finds out that they were not so diligent. It costs you in reputation as well as the financial cost. How embarassing it must be for Hao Sen Co., Ltd., not to mention the law firm they hired. Even though all the facts may not be known, it is clear there was a disconnect.
Could this happen to you? Don't let it!