IP Audits Plus – Grants to Assist SMEs Develop their IP Strategy

May 2013

What is the IP Audits Plus Service?
The IP Audits Plus service has been developed to provide support in respect of IP management, commercialisation and marketing to ensure that SMEs can maximise the value of their IP.  The aim of the service is to connect SMEs with good quality guidance and advice, along with the services that they will need to make their IP work for them as they work to grow their business. 

IP Audits Plus provides SMEs with a tailored assessment of the IP within their business, and possible business risks posed by third party-owned IP, to help them develop sound IP management strategies.  The process is intended to address real needs and generate sound IP policy for businesses.   

The audit will result in a report containing recommendations and action points as to how your business could leverage value out of its IP, manage IP risks, and develop an IP management plan.  You will also be given the opportunity to discuss the report’s recommendations with a qualified IP professional on a one hour pro-bono basis. The service cannot be used to prepare and file an application for a patent, registered trade mark or registered design. 

The UK Intellectual Property Office (UKIPO) covers the costs of the audit up to £3,000 (including VAT).  SMEs can apply from 1 May 2013 up until 31 March 2014. 

Who can apply?
Any SME can apply for an IP Audit Plus by engaging with one of the IPO Partners’ business support schemes, i.e. those run by the Welsh Government, Scottish Enterprise and the Growth Accelerator programme. The IPO Partners apply selection criteria to ensure that Audits are awarded to SMEs which, in their opinion, will benefit most from the process and therefore make best use of the grants. As the number of Audits is limited, not all applicants will be successful. 

How to apply?
The IP Audits Plus scheme is sponsored by the UKIPO, which ultimately makes the decision on who receives an award.  To qualify for an audit the SME must demonstrate a sound business need and submit a short application outlining the expected benefits of the IP audit to the relevant IPO Partner. 

This application is assessed by the IPO Partner and then forwarded to the UKIPO if a persuasive case for the award has been made.  Final decisions are typically taken very quickly, usually within a day or two of the application being received by the UKIPO. 

How can HGF help?
The audit is delivered by a nominated qualified IP professional and covers all aspects of formal and informal IP.  HGF has carried out many IP audits, and has developed a breadth and depth of expertise in this area.  We can match our IP professionals, for example a combination of expertise in patents, trademarks and designs, to your business and tailor the audit accordingly.  We can also put you in touch with our contacts within the relevant IPO Partner business support schemes.  

For many businesses, we also provide initial advice on why and how your business would benefit from an IP Audit, which will assist in preparing a strong application. 

How can I find out more?
For further information, please contact your usual HGF representative, or: 

UKIPO information IP Audits can be found here  or email: ipaudits@ipo.gov.uk 

Information on Scottish Enterprise and IP Audits can be found here

Information on Growth Accelerator and IP Audits can be found here

Information from the Welsh Government can be found here

Contributor:  Douglas Drysdale ddrysdale@hgf.com.  Telephone 0141 229 5800

For further advice on this or any other trade mark matter, please contact your usual HGF representative or email ddrysdale@hgf.com with your query.