For the last few years, the UK Intellectual Property Office (UKIPO) has run an “IP Audit Plus” scheme which allows businesses that meet certain criteria to access funding for an audit of their IP position.

Under this scheme, funding for up to 80% of the cost of the audit is available.

There is also subsequent funding available (up to £5,000) to help implement the recommendations arising from the audit.

For further information, click on the relevant sections below:

An IP audit is a method of identifying existing intellectual property (IP) assets held in your business, as well as potential IP assets, and compiling an overall IP inventory.

An IP audit can help you to:

  • Uncover unused or under-utilised assets
  • Determine ownership of these assets
  • Identify potentially patentable technology, potentially registrable trade marks and designs, in addition to trade secrets and copyright
  • Identify any related threats.

With this inventory, you can then make informed decisions on how to develop and implement an IP strategy, which will help drive your business forward.

If your company meets the relevant criteria (see below) and one of the UKIPO’s recognised partners (i.e. Innovate UK, Scottish Enterprise, Highlands and Island Enterprises, or the Welsh Government) approves your application, you can receive up to £2,500 to go towards the cost of an IP Audit, which needs to be carried out by a UK-based IP professional (e.g. a Chartered UK Patent or Trade Mark Attorney). The total cost of the IP audit is £3,000 (VAT inclusive), meaning your company only needs to contribute the remaining £500.

You will then need to appoint a firm of UK IP professionals, such as Dehns, who will arrange a meeting to discuss your business, its technology, its R&D activities and identify the existing and potential IP held within your business. The firm will then provide your company with a bespoke report detailing their findings and recommendations.

To be eligible, a business should be:

  • a UK Small or Medium-Size Enterprise (SME) – i.e. have fewer than 250 employees
  • engaged with one of the IPO recognised partners – i.e. Innovate UK, Scottish Enterprise, Highlands and Island Enterprises, or the Welsh Government
  • identified as having potential to grow

If you feel an IP audit would be of benefit to your business to help achieve its commercial objectives, let us know and we can provide initial advice and then put you in contact with one of the UKIPO’s recognised partners (e.g. Innovate UK). One of their Innovation Managers will discuss your situation and advise whether your company would be suitable to apply for an IP Audit.

If you are advised to proceed, you will then need to complete an application form – Dehns are able to advise and support you through this process. Once completed, this form will be sent via your selected partner to the UKIPO on your behalf.

If you are approved for the scheme, we can then undertake the IP Audit on your behalf. Dehns has carried out numerous IP Audits and will provide you with a final report which you can use to help achieve your objectives.

An additional funding scheme (“IP Access”) was launched in August 2021, whereby the government will further contribute up to £5,000 to help SMEs protect and commercialise their IP as part of the UK government’s response to support post-pandemic recovery.

Companies that have completed a part-funded IP audit under the IP Audits Plus scheme are eligible to apply.

This funding is available to help implement the recommendations from the IP Audit to ensure  full value is obtained from the audit results.