R&I spotlight on intellectual property law
Produced in partnership with Brett Israel of Marriott Harrison LLP and Pippa Hill of DLA Piper
R&I spotlight on intellectual property law

The following Restructuring & Insolvency guidance note Produced in partnership with Brett Israel of Marriott Harrison LLP and Pippa Hill of DLA Piper provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • R&I spotlight on intellectual property law
  • Why is intellectual property relevant to R&I lawyers, insolvency practitioners and their staff?
  • What are some examples of the type of insolvency situations where IP issues arise? How can insolvency practitioners and their staff spot an IP issue?
  • What steps can insolvency practitioners take to protect themselves from liability?
  • What are the most important issues for licensees with an insolvent licensor?
  • What sort of precautions can a licensee take when originally entering into a licence of IP so as to protect its position on insolvency of the licensor?
  • Do you have any advice for someone who is buying IP assets from an insolvent company?
  • What are the main laws and regulations governing this area?

Why is intellectual property relevant to R&I lawyers, insolvency practitioners and their staff?

In some insolvencies, the insolvent company’s major asset is its intellectual property (IP). In such circumstances, it will be important for the insolvency practitioner and their staff to understand the extent of the assets over which they have control and which, ultimately, they might seek to sell.

Many companies have some form of IP or quasi IP which may have realisable value and it will be important for the insolvency practitioner to assess this to fulfil their duties as administrators. Such property could include trade marks used by the company, a trading name, copyright in company ‘works’, patents for products manufactured or sold by the company or indeed a licence to use patents owned by someone else.

What are some examples of the type of insolvency situations where IP issues arise? How can insolvency practitioners and their staff spot an IP issue?

The starting point is to evaluate what assets the company has and what, if any, value they have.

The insolvency practitioner will probably need to carry out checks of IP registers and obtain expert IP valuations. The insolvency practitioner should also carefully assess the company’s asset registers and balance sheets to see whether they reveal any IP assets. The most common scenario in which insolvency