How do we centralise our IP?

Discover how to save money and manage your IP centrally

Q. On the back of a great idea, our founder grew sales to £1m a year. After a buy-out, we then moved into other products and services in an effort to turn ourselves into a little global Plc. Along the way, we have accumulated a lot of IP, but haven’t really thought about bringing it all together up until now. What kinds of savings and efficiencies could we make by managing it more centrally?
A. Jon Welfoot answers:

Most successful companies manage their IP centrally. IP is a key corporate asset requiring active management to reflect changing priorities, properly protect the investment and deliver value for money. Central management should deliver both efficiency and cost savings, because:

1. A single source of information and advice on IP matters could avoid costly misunderstandings and legal fees. 2. A global appreciation of your IP and its relative value to the business will ensure costs are directed to strategically important matters only. 3. Consistency and co-ordination in the filing, prosecution and enforcement of IP rights will reduce errors and duplication, which at best, cost money to correct and at worst could undermine the IP itself. 4. Handling conflicts from a global/strategic perspective can create opportunities for linkages, deals or licences. 5. Considering reviews and renewals globally can increase opportunities for cost savings. 6. Checking IP tax implications can ensure that you take advantage of any available tax efficiencies. 7. A centrally managed portfolio will enhance your negotiating position with external IP service providers on both cost and service. So you can ensure you get the best value.

Jon Welfoot is a senior member of the trademark team at Stevens Hewlett & Perkins, a leading firm of intellectual property specialists based in Bristol and London.


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