It is a well-known fact that companies that stock tangible assets do a stocktake of their assets at least once a year. So why are companies not doing it for their intangible assets i.e. intellectual property and why is it important to do so?

How do you do a “stocktake” of intangible assets?

An intellectual property audit (“IP Audit”) is the solution to this problem, but what is an IP Audit?

It is a systematic review of all the IP that a company owns, and how important that asset is to that company as well as the IP it uses or has acquired. The purpose of this audit is to identify your IP, keeps records of them and identifies any threats to them

Intellectual property consists of trade marks, patents, copyright etc. The IP Audit will also allow a business to see who owns IP that it may be using and if it has obtained the correct consent to making use of that IP.

It further alerts the company that its IP may need to be renewed or is about to expire and can show if the company’s IP is being used effectively.

Perhaps the most important reason for an IP Audit to be done is to determine the value of the company’s IP assets. One of the determining factors considered when assessing the value of IP is how much that IP would cost the company if it were to be replaced.

An IP Audit could save a company from losing hundreds of thousands of Rands if administered correctly.