The UK Intellectual Property Office (IPO) currently offers assistance through its IP Audit Plus Scheme, which may be particularly useful for many health and social care providers or healthcare professionals looking to grow their business. This scheme part-funds an IP audit to be undertaken, with the IPO paying £2,500 (inc. VAT) and the business contributing (£500 inc. VAT) to the balance. Funding is released every April.
An IP audit involves an IP professional, such as a trade mark attorney, identifying existing IP a provider has, such as its logo, business name, website and marketing materials, as well as software and databases to protect confidential information. The IP professional will also identify IP assets the business could have and provide guidance and recommendations for how best to protect and manage this IP, as well as looking at possible threats, risks and opportunities related to the IP identified.
To apply for this scheme the business must be an SME -a business with fewer than 250 employees and a turnover of not more than £41m – and must demonstrate that the IP audit will form a key part of achieving its business growth plans. Providers that qualify should contact Innovate Edge UK to start the application process.
Once the IP audit has been completed the business can then apply for the IP Access Funding (£5,000 inc. VAT).
IP Access funding can be used to cover the cost of services related to:
- Applications for trade marks, patents or design rights;
- The management of IP assets;
- Commercialisation of IP;
- Licensing and franchising agreements;
- IP insurance;
- IP valuation; and/or,
- Tax relief advice.
For more information please contact Emma Kirkpatrick, a Chartered Trade Mark Attorney at HCR, who has supported a number of businesses in the health and social care sector as their IP professional with both the IP Audit phase and then navigating the application process for the IP Access Funding.