Keep The Intellectual Property Bogeymen Away–Why You Should Have An Intellectual Property Audit

Contributed by Danielle L. Dietrich

Think fast! Can you list your company’s intellectual property?  Chances are that you cannot.  Although most businesses take inventory of their physical products on a regular basis, they rarely, take an accounting of intellectual property.  An IP audit will help you gather that information and plan a strategy to protect it.

All businesses possess intellectual property.  A company’s name and logo are examples of intellectual property.  Publications, software, websites, logos, slogans and trade secrets are also examples of intellectual property that any company can possess, no matter what the industry.  These examples are assets that you and your company created and have invested in with time, energy and money.  But, have you protected them?  An IP helps you identify all your intellectual property assets and makes sure that you have the proper protection procedures in place.

Did you know that agreements  your company has with third parties might affect your company’s intellectual property rights?  License agreements, supplier agreements, distribution agreements, consulting agreements, joint venture agreements and non-disclosure agreements are a few examples of contracts that can affect your ownership in intellectual property.  An IP audit will help you identify your risks and rights associated with these agreements.

An IP audit can also ensure that your company has the proper employee policies and procedures in place to protect your business and keep your secrets safe.  Without proper policies and agreements in place, you may not be able to stop a disgruntled employee from leaving your company and taking your secrets with him or her.

Do not neglect your intellectual property.  It may be the most valuable asset you have.

If your company is interested in setting up IP audit or discussing this topic further, Danielle Dietrich can be reached via email:, telephone: 412-594-5605 or on Twitter at @DLDietrich.