Step 3

Processes and responsibility  

When it comes to deciding how to manage IPR in the future, the following questions may prove useful:


In which processes and departments are product development, knowledge, new designs and brands generated?


  • At what times in the process is it relevant to examine whether the company itself should undertake development, brand building and design itself  – or whether it should buy a licence or enter into collaboration with a third party?
  • At what stages do you check which rights risk blocking sales and production of the product, brand and the design in the pipeline? This type of search is known as a ‘Freedom-to-operate’ search.
  • And when is it relevant to assess whether and how the product, brand or design should be protected?


How do you assess and take decisions? You can, for example, carry out a generalised search of other people’s rights before development gets underway and conduct a thorough search with outside help when the product is designed or is taking shape. And you can ensure that management makes decisions regarding protection, including an assessment of the long-term costs before anything is published.


Which employees are responsible for ensuring that searches are completed, proposals are put before management and followed up on? Should one or more employees take a basic course in IPR protection and how to avoid infringing the rights of others? When do you use external IP consultants or search suppliers?