Prioritise your effort

Risk analysis regarding knowledge and IPR

Risk analysis can be a useful tool for management and the person responsible for IPR in day-to-day operations. Remember to update on a regular basis so that risk reduction initiatives can be implemented and prioritised.

Start by listing areas that pose a potential risk. Such areas may be your specific rights, development projects, designs, brands or products, but you can also choose to categorise according to risk types – e.g. absence of patent protection, copying of designs and infringement upon the rights of others.

For each right, development project, brand or risk, assess:

The likelihood of a potential negative situation. Are you in a sector where copying is rare? Do the company’s competitors not have any rights? Are contracts and procedures under control? If so, there is often a lower risk of problems arising.

How serious are the consequences if a situation should arise – financial, legal and/or for reputation?

You can choose scales, numeric values, colour codes – consider which level suits your company and the situation in which the tool is to be used.

Download example with numeric values

Download example with colour codes

Consider the following risks:


Turnover, reputation and markets can be lost if others profit from your brand, technology or design.

Insufficient freedom to operate

The launch of products or brands can be halted in relevant markets if others own or may end up owning patents, trademarks, design rights or domain names that appear in or are similar to the product or brand of your company. It may also result in severe financial consequences if the infringement is not discovered until the product has been launched and has been on the market for a period of time.

Loss of trademarks

You may lose the right to your trademark if you use it incorrectly. You may also brand yourself with a name that cannot be protected.

Inappropriate publication

You may lose the possibility of securing an IP right if you publish designs or technologies at the wrong time.


If the company has agreements with distributors, suppliers and customers that require the company to enforce specific rights, the ensuing financial consequences may be severe. You may also have incurred further responsibility if you infringe the rights of a third party.

Examples of risk assessments and prioritisation

Copying: the likelihood of someone copying our design is considerable, but the consequences are limited as our customers appreciate our brand, and we will not lose sales or reputation from copies that do not bear our name. Initially, we therefore choose to protect and enforce our trademark.

Infringement of the rights of others: We cannot assess the likelihood of infringing the rights of others as we have never considered this risk before. Should an infringement occur, however, the consequences will be severe. Our most important IPR effort therefore is to assess the likelihood of infringing a third party and resolving the issue if and when it arises.