Reviewing your business’ intellectual property (IP) practices and procedures is a good way to ensure you remain compliant with any laws and regulations. We set out what you should consider when auditing your IP.
What Should I Consider?
Have a think about your current policies.
- Have you registered your trade marks, patents, designs and copyright with the appropriate organisations?
- Are your employees familiar with your IP registrations?
- Have your employees undertaken training to ensure they don’t infringe another party’s IP?
- Do you regularly check the status of your registrations?
- Have you marked when you need to renew or apply for any new marks or protections?
Reviewing your IP ensures you have a complete understanding of all of your business’ IP at all times. You might discover that some of the things you thought were part of your IP belong, in fact, to outside contractors. You then need to make yourself aware of the conditions of being able to use their IP as part of your business marketing or production. You will also be able to have a clear record of all of your IP including:
- when it was created,
- who owns it, and
- how it can be used.
If an outside party has infringed your IP, you will need to show what the IP infringement is, how it has been infringed and what you can do to stop them continuing immediately.
How Do I Do It?
Creating a practice of reviewing your IP can include interviewing your employees to understand how much they know about your current practices and finding out if they have any insight into using IP more efficiently. They might also have some new ideas that they think should be registered. Other options including conducting surveys or questionnaires to have a clear record about how your employees use of your IP.
Review the contracts you have with third parties who have provided you with services, as this helps to determine what, if any, IP rights you have in their work. It will also help you to know what actions you can take in regards to that work, as well as how you can protect yourself if any issues arise. The type of contracts to go over include employee contracts, contractors, joint ventures and any research agreements.
Once you understand the extent of your business’ IP, the next step in a successful IP review is to ensure it is registered, and up to date. You should undertake searches of relevant databases including commercial and public patent, trade mark, and design databases. One example is the IP Australia database. Investigating whether there are any court actions involving IP breaches is another sensible step. Reading through industry journals is a good way to stay informed of any new IP developments in your business’ area, as well as any new laws and regulations that might apply to you.
If you have any questions about checking IP databases and understanding current IP laws, then contact LegalVision today. We would be pleased to step you through possible solutions to any issues you may have. Our specialist IP lawyers would be delighted to assist you in implementing a comprehensive IP review and keep your business on the pulse with any IP issues.