For the half-year to 31 December 2014, the IPKat's regular team is supplemented by contributions from guest bloggers Rebecca Gulbul, Lucas Michels and Marie-Andrée Weiss.

Regular round-ups of the previous week's blogposts are kindly compiled by Alberto Bellan.

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Prevention better than cure? Try the IP Healthcheck

Prevention is better than cure.  We have a choice here -- we can either learn this motto from irritatingly preachy experts, or we can pick it up through painful and sometimes irreversible experience [if this Kat could ever travel back in time and have his years all over again, the one thing he'd be sure to take with him is a user's manual for his toothbrush ...].  But the dichotomy between prevention and cure is relevant to the IP community too: we know it's better to secure your legal and commercial position first, than to plunge into business and find yourself buried in an avalanche of expensive and stressful litigation.  It is in this light that the IPKat's friends in the UK Intellectual Property Office have been excitedly announcing that their IP Healthcheck service has now been used by more than 11,000 IP owners.  Advertising their virtues, the IPO say:
"Why use it?

Every business will own some form of intellectual property. It could be the artistic design, shape, technology or brand of your product or process [or, if you're unlucky, someone else's ...], but do you know how to protect and exploit these intellectual assets? The IP Healthcheck online tool is free to use and will help you answer these questions. It’s broken down into the four IP elements covering patents, trade marks, designs and copyright, as well as advice on Licensing Intellectual Property and managing Confidential Information.

What you get

Just answer a series of simple questions and a tailored Confidential Report will be created for you, based on what you have told us. The Report will include
  • A list of recommended Action Points, to help you protect and exploit your IP rights; 
  • An explanation of why we have made each recommendation; 
  • Guidance on how to put each recommendation into practice; 
  • Links to useful information, websites and other resources.
How it works

Just click on link below and enter your email details. You will be able to start the Healthcheck right away. If you can't complete the Healthcheck all in one go, you will be able to log back in later and pick up from where you left off.

Need some help?

Our Information Centre on 0300 300 2000 will be able to assist you should you need any help.

Availability

Our IP Healthcheck facility is usually available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week".
It seems to this Kat that a service of this kind can be very helpful, but he wonders whether any readers of this blog have either used it in deadly earnest or at any rate trialled it, using a "dummy" business and seeing what sort of advice they get.  After all, no online healthcheck can be any better than its user interface, interrogation template and advice algorithm lets it be.  If it is of any worth, its use should be pretty well mandatory, particularly for any small or medium-sized business  -- not as a substitute for professional legal advice but as a preparation for it, so as to get the best value from the paid-for advice that one gets when the business is further down the line.

Merpel notes that the rights concerned -- patents, trade marks, designs and copyright -- as well as the basics of licensing, are either harmonised within the EU or in many respects quite similar.  This suggests that the IP Healthcheck may be handy for users even from outside the UK. She wonders how many, if any, Healthcheck users have been attracted from distant parts.

How to be healthy here and here
Healthy and wealthy and wise here, here and here
Healthy and wealthy and dead (for fans of James Thurber) here

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