Tuesday, 7 February 2012

A New Face of Audit: Intellectual Property (IP) Audit

Property considered as one of the important asset for any individual or organization. Few decades back, the value of tangible assets was more than the intangible assets. The reason behind this low value of intangible assets was ignorance or lack of proper tools for their identification. But by the change of century, the ratio of the value between tangible and intangible assets had been reversed. So it becomes important for any organization to keep track the magnitude, quality and applications of the intangible assets of the organization. This can be done only with the help of Intellectual Property Audit.

What is IP Audit?
IP Audit is a systematic evaluation of IP Assets available in the organization or it is an examination of inventory of information related to any particular technology which may be owned, used or acquired by the organization. IP Audit helps to assess and manage risk, remedy problems and implement best practices in IP Asset Management. Once the audit is completed, then a register should be kept of your IP rights.

Why IP Audit?
·         Helps in gathering information useful in understanding the updates of concerned business and market;
·         Powerful tool for preparing strategies to manage and maximize return on its intellectual property investment;
·         Helps to assess and manage risks so as to be able to implement best practices in solving problems;
·         Helps in designing R & D and Marketing strategies to minimize the exposure from defects discovered in the IP Audit.

When to Commence IP Audit?
An IP Audit should be commenced:
·         To know the status of the IP Portfolio;
·         Before a significant acquisition or merger of a technology or product;
·         To ensure that the intellectual property is properly protected and enhances the acquiring organization’s existing intellectual property interests;
·         At critical junctures in a company’s life cycle to ensure the continuing adequacy of such procedures and to detect defects therein;
·         To check the risk of infringement with the development of a major new product;
·         In response to a change or new development in the law;
·         When an organization sets up an intellectual property license or licensing program;
·         In connection with new programs or policies of the market.

Where one should search for IP Audit?
IP Audit includes following issues to assess:
·         Issued Patents
·         Patentable Ideas / Information / Technologies
·         Company’s owned technologies
·         Direct or Indirect Agreements
·         Direct or Indirect Licensing
·         Technologies Imported or Exported
·         Infringed Technology
·         Trade Secrets
·         Industrial Designs
·         Know-How Manuals
·         Government Contracts
·         Published Papers / Journals
·         Business Method Data
Uncovering and understanding of these assets will often provide a company with extra revenue streams other than those involving licenses and royalty payments. These revenues streams can come from Joint Ventures, Research and Development sharing, and distribution agreements in those jurisdictions that may have been inaccessible up until now.

Finally, we can conclude that Intellectual Property (IP) can be the best source of building revenue and to get competitive edge over competitors for various organizations but the need is to identify and utilize that IP in your organization and this can be possible only with regular Intellectual Property (IP) auditing. In the words of an intellect - “if you don’t measure it, you can’t manage it”. 

Monday, 6 February 2012

DEKLA: An Extending Hierarchy of IPC

By Arun Kumar ‘aru’

Introduction of DEKLA
German Patent classification System (DEKLA) introduced in order to organize and index the technical information given in the German patent document. This classification system helps in retrieving the German patent document for studying a particular area of study.
German Patent classification System (DEKLA) is an extended and modified version of IPC system which provides a hierarchical system for the classification of German patents and utility models on the basis of their area of technology. For example, regular IPC code for ashtrays is: A24F 19/00 but in DEKLA A24F 19/00 A is used for ashtrays with moving mechanism1.
Evolution of DEKLA
DPMA classifies German patents and utility models documents according to IPC but use further sub-division of IPC to store more information related to particular technique so that prior-art can be accessed easily. These sub-divisions are called DEKLA and comprise 40,000 sub-divisions in addition to IPC (i.e. 110,000 total sub-divisions).
All incoming patents in German jurisdiction don’t be given DEKLA codes but it solely depends upon the German patent examiner to assign DEKLA codes to patent documents if they feel the IPC code on any particular document is not satisfactory and unable to cover the technology of the invention. Due to this reason, only few patent documents have DEKLA codes.
This shows DEKLA classification can’t be used in comprehensive search of patent data but can be used as an additional source for narrower searching of patent data in addition to IPC support.
Construction of DEKLA
The DEKLA classification like IPC is an arrangement of technical knowledge in a descending hierarchical order of section, class, subclass, main group, sub-group and DEKLA codes. The DEKLA symbols are a capital letter or a number or their combination and add after IPC codes. DEKLA groups extend the dot hierarchy of the relevant IPC group. They are placed at least one hierarchical level lower than the respective IPC group.
The worldwide knowledge is classified in eight broader sections:

The construction of DEKLA can be understood with following example:

Section:                         A                    HUMAN  NECESSITIES
Class:                             A47                FURNITURE
Subclass:                       A47B              Tables, desks, office furniture, cabinets, chests of drawers,
                                                               general details of furniture
Main group:              A47B 47/00     Cabinets, racks or shelves, characterized by features related                                                                    to the dismantling or assembling of individual parts of the
DEKLA one-dot subgroup:                   47/00 A • without frame-related shelf or furniture tops
DEKLA two-dot subgroup:                   47/00 A1 • • composite plate using a slotted plug- shelf or
                                                                furniture panels
DEKLA three-dot subgroup:                47/04 A1 • • • composite plate using a slotted plug-shelf or
                                                                furniture panels

Group A47B 47/04 A1 actually concerns “furniture like tables, desks, office furniture, cabinets, chests of drawers etc. characterized by features related to the dismantling or assembling of individual parts with- out frame-related shelf or furniture tops specifically composite plate using a slotted plug-shelf or furniture panels”.

nB � e t �s. �Z. ifically composite plate using a slotted plug-shelf or furniture panels”.