The UKIPO has launched a suite of tools designed to help businesses understand and capitalize on their intellectual property. The tools are directed primarily at SME's but will also be valuable to larger organisations that are starting to engage with IP issues more intensively.
As an introduction, IP Basics provides a series of guides to a broad range of IP issues. An overview of patents, trade marks, designs, copyright, confidential information and how the associated rights interact with commercial strategy is succinctly presented. Another guide covers patents, and the advantages that they can provide, in greater detail.
IP Health Check
For users who have some knowledge of IP, the Health Check provides a structured series of questions relating to eight different topics. In addition to the different types of IP, the Health Check also covers important commercial subjects, including franchising and licencing. On completion of each interactive questionnaire, the UKIPO provides a confidential report that provides general advice tailored to the answers given. This may allow businesses to identify areas of concern where particular actions may be needed or where specific legal advice should be sought.
This interactive online application allows users to test their IP knowledge by answering a series of true or false questions on topics covering patents, trade marks, designs and copyright. The same content is provided in downloadable form by an IP Equip app, which contains some additional information relating to start-ups and growing businesses.
IP Master Class
The master class aims to provide business people with a range of IP knowledge and skills. Areas addressed include ways to control the costs of protecting IP, ways to commercially exploit IP and ways to identify and avoid potentially costly mistakes. Professional techniques for searching publicly available databases, relating to patents, trade marks and designs, are also developed.
To date, the IP Master Class has been a three day class-room based training event. The UKIPO intends to provide further sessions later this year; however, the only currently scheduled session, in April, is already fully booked. There are also plans to provide this course online at some time in the future.
Throughout their ‘IP for Business' tools, the UKIPO provides guidance on circumstances in which a business would be best served by seeking professional advice.