Patents, Trade Marks, Designs & Copyright

IP Audits – UKIPO funding schemes

Businesses can apply for UKIPO funding towards the cost of an IP audit as well as additional funding to protect and commercialise their IP.

SMEs can apply for funding towards an audit of their intellectual property via the UK Intellectual Property Office’s (UKIPO) IP Audits Plus service.

The service aims to provide SMEs with guidance and advice in respect of IP management, commercialisation and marketing to ensure that they can obtain their IP rights, identify opportunities to use them in their wider business strategy and maximise their value.

The IP audit will be carried out by an IP professional and will provide you with clear recommendations as to how your business could leverage value out of your IP and how to develop an IP management plan to integrate your IP assets into your wider business strategy.

In August 2021, the UKIPO announced that they would be extending the UKIPO IP Audits Plus programme to include IP Access grants. These grants, available to businesses who have completed a part-funded IP audit between April 2020 to March 2022, will provide up to a maximum of £5,000 in additional funding to take forward the recommendations made within the IP audit report.

Who is eligible for an IP audit?

To apply for an audit, you must be an:

  • SME (fewer than 250 employees and turnover of not more than £41m);
  • Able to demonstrate in your application that the IP audit will form a key part of achieving your business growth plans; and
  • Engaged with one of the IPO partner business support schemes. The recognised partners are Innovate UK Business Growth, Scottish Enterprise and the Highlands and Island Enterprises, or the Welsh Government.

How can an IP audit benefit your company?

  • It can provide a greater understanding of your IP assets;
  • Guidance regarding potential patentability as well as IP strategy and management;
  • Advice and guidance towards IP ownership;
  • Budget assistance regarding potential costs involved with protecting their innovations and technologies.

How much funding will I receive?

The total value of the IP audit is £3,000 (including VAT). The UKIPO contributes £2,500 (inc VAT) towards the audit and participating companies must contribute the remaining £500 (inc VAT) on completion of the report.

The funding cannot be used to prepare and file an application for a patent, registered trade mark or design – it can only be used towards the cost of the audit.

Businesses that have received part-funding for an IP audit between April 2020 to March 2022 can also apply for an IP Access grant (see details below) which provides up to £5,000 in funding which can be used towards the cost of preparing and filing patent, trade mark and registered design applications (excluding official fees).

Who can carry out the IP audit?

SMEs who are successful in receiving the funding can choose any qualified UK-based IP professional to carry out the audit. Wilson Gunn is one of the recommended suppliers who can carry out the audit.

How do I apply?

An application must be submitted to the UKIPO via a dedicated Innovation Specialist through the Innovate UK innovate2succeed programme. Prior to submitting the application, an Innovation Specialist will discuss with you the benefits of the audit and what you can expect to gain from it. If an audit is considered appropriate, the Innovation Specialist will work with you to complete the form and send it to the IPO on your behalf.

If the UKIPO accepts your application, you can then instruct an IP professional such as Wilson Gunn to carry out the audit.

For help accessing the funding available for an IP audit, please contact Innovate UK Business Growth, Scottish Enterprise and the Highlands and Island Enterprises, or the Welsh Government.

What is the IP Access grant?

Businesses that have been awarded part-funding for an IP audit between April 2020 to March 2022 can apply for an IP Access grant which offers up to £5,000 in additional funding. Unlike the IP Audit scheme, eligible businesses aren’t required to make a contribution.

The IP Access grant can be used to cover the cost of services related to:

  • The management of IP assets;
  • Commercialisation of IP;
  • Licensing and franchising agreements;
  • IP insurance;
  • IP valuation;
  • Tax relief advice;
  • Professional fees for IP services in the UK and abroad.

It cannot be used for the official fees for filing trade mark, registered design or patent applications.

Applications for an IP Access grant can be made until 12pm on the 31st March 2022.

To apply, please get in touch with the organisation who assisted with your IP audit application. Alternatively, please contact us and we can put you in touch with a provider who can assist with your application.

Wilson Gunn