Posted by Charlotte Ebbutt, Associate
Protecting your major business assets – what’s in a name?
Most businesses have a clear picture of their assets. For example, the value of property, equipment and stock is integrally linked to a business’s ability to remain profitable and raise finance to grow and expand. However it is not just physical assets that have a value. Businesses also have intangible assets that can add significant value to the balance sheet.
Undertaking an Intellectual Property (IP) audit of your business is a worthwhile exercise in order to establish what IP your business owns and whether it should be actively protected. Some intellectual property rights arise automatically (such as copyright) but others need to be registered in order to receive protection – trade marks and registered designs for example. Every time you come up with a new product, brand name, invention or design you should be considering what protection is required. This is particularly true if your business is built around its IP as the impact of someone copying you can have significant repercussions.
The fortunes of Poundworld (or lack of) demonstrate the importance of ensuring that your IP is sufficiently protected so that it can be of real value to the business.
It was recently announced that Poundworld’s IP has been put up for sale by its administrators in order to try and raise some of the £226 million owed to creditors after it collapsed earlier this year. Poundworld was a recognisable brand on the UK high street and had a large presence in the discount retail market. Its IP consists not only of its brand name but also other registered trade marks, digital assets and the goodwill associated with the brand.
It has been suggested that there is particular value in Poundworld’s IP due to the economic uncertainties facing the UK ahead of Brexit. During the previous financial crisis, a number of consumers turned to discount stores and as a result the sector experienced significant growth. As such the rights to use the Poundworld brand could prove valuable in the future. By ensuring that their brands were sufficiently protected, Poundworld has protected potential value in the business, even though it is no longer trading.
If you need help understanding what IP you have, or how it should be protected, then get in touch with our expert team:
0800 051 8059 Email us