We take the view that a holistic approach to managing intellectual property benefits our clients the most. After all, it is but one of a business' various types of exploitable capital, all sympathetic and all working together to drive growth.

We therefore encourage the development of intellectual property policy documents that identify the commercial rationale for obtaining intellectual property rights. These policies set out the preferred and default procedure for obtaining patents, trade marks and registered designs.

Portfolio review

Your intellectual property may be best protected through the filing of a patent application, the registration of a trade mark or a design or a combination of these. Whatever the size and nature of your portfolio, we constantly monitor its status to keep you aware of every development. Your IP portfolio data can be communicated to you whenever you require it, for example, during an application process to obtain funding.

For clients having a sizeable portfolio comprising several applications/registrations, we actively encourage regular face-to-face portfolio review meetings to discuss pending and upcoming issues. We, and our clients, find these meetings extremely useful and are a more effective way of keeping up to date on current issues than by mere phone or email correspondence. These meetings, for which we do not charge, are also useful for identifying new potentially patentable subject matter, and for this reason, we suggest to our clients that we meet in their premises where their developing technologies can be demonstrated and where we can meet the inventors.

IP Strategy

Our ultimate aim is to develop an intellectual property portfolio that locks in your research and development and creative investmentsThe ultimate aim of any innovation-led organisation is to obtain a commercially relevant intellectual property right which serves as a useful tool in the business environment. The intellectual property right may serve to attract funding, may discourage potential infringers, may act as the basis for a licensing agreement or be used in the brokering of a deal, for example.

We therefore work with our clients to define an IP strategy which results in the generation of the most appropriate intellectual property rights in view of the commercial aims. This strategy includes advising on territorial coverage for intellectual property rights, suitable timing for filing a patent application after a sufficient level of product development has been carried out, and when inventions should be protected in separate applications/registrations.

Renewals

Whether it is a patent, trade mark or registered design, all forms of intellectual property rights need maintaining through the regular payment of fees to the national intellectual property offices. The timings vary considerably, in dependence upon both the particular terriroty and type of right. For instance, annual payments may start from the 4th anniversary of the filing date for patents (or patent applications) and every year after that to a maximum of 20 years after the filing date, to payments every 5 years from the registration date for registered designs, up to a total of 25 years and payments every 10 years for trade marks.

However, we can remove the burden of managing renewals from you and actively manage the process. Using our records systems, we can send you timely reminders when the renewal date approaches and we will seek your confirmation that you wish to maintain the intellectual property right before proceeding with payment. Alternatively, a particular right can automatically be renewed every year. Virtually all our clients use our renewals system to ensure that their valuable intellectual property rights are kept in force.