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Intellectual Property Audit

An intellectual property audit is a process by which an intellectual property attorney determines the value of intellectual property assets owned or licensed by a business and identifies potential infringement liability to which the business may be exposed. The audit also examines procedures for perfecting intellectual property rights and recommends necessary improvements to those procedures.

The intellectual property audit should be performed during development of a new product or service to determine if the new product or service infringes intellectual property rights of others. The audit will also determine whether or not patent, trademark, copyright or trade secret protection is appropriate. In addition, an intellectual property audit is advisable whenever there is a significant change in the law pertaining to intellectual property rights.

Such an audit may have a broad scope. In this regard, the audit may cover all aspects of obtaining, maintaining and enforcing intellectual property rights for every facet of the business. On the other hand, the audit may have a narrow scope. In this regard, the audit may cover only intellectual property involved in a specific litigation or the audit may only cover internal procedures for employees to report inventions to management. Also, a narrowly defined audit may be limited to review of intellectual property clauses found in purchase orders, letters of intent, loan agreements, agreements with venture capitalists, employee agreements, “work made for hire” agreements with independent contractors and licenses, as well as other agreements.

In any event, results of an audit will identify the strengths and weaknesses of intellectual property assets used in the business. Identifying strengths and weaknesses of intellectual property assets can maintain and enhance the financial health of a business.

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