Before small business owners can move to protect the Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs) of a business, an IP audit must be conducted to help develop an understanding of the nature and value of the business IP.
“An IP audit is a systematic review of the IP owned, used, or acquired by a business.” The objectives to be reached in an IP audit are to:
- Identify all the IP owned or used by the business. Checking on ownership rights can be burdensome. Has the IP been licensed? Who was the inventor and are assignments in order?
- Provide the information necessary to value these intangible business assets. This is what IP Metrics calls triaging. Each IP asset needs to be valued in terms of its strategic necessity to the business. Priorities can be set only after relative value is established.
- Once identified and vetted in terms of ownership and valued, IP-related decisions can be made. Do we protect the IP? Do we abandon it? What enforcement steps are we willing to take?