Small businesses in Scotland are being offered new support tools to help them identify, protect and grow their intellectual property assets.
The UK Intellectual Property Office (IPO) has launched the "IP for Business" package - a variety of business tools which "make sure" firms can tap into up-to-date guidance to help manage their intellectual property (IP), and get more relevant advice from their accountants and other business advisers, said the IPO.
The tools "respond to the challenge of making sure businesses can generate value from ideas against a backdrop of poor understanding of intellectual property rights and how to exploit them", said the IPO.
At the centre of the toolkit is IP Equip - a free interactive online training tool that helps businesses and their advisers to identify assets which may be protected by intellectual property rights, and to think through the strategy for protecting them.
Minister for intellectual property Lord Younger said: "Intellectual Property is a prospect which small businesses often find rather daunting. However, what ‘IP for Business’ shows is that with the correct support and guidance this doesn’t have to be the case.
"The perceived barriers to protecting and managing IP successfully can be easily overcome. All businesses can use these products and I would urge them to do so to tap into their full growth potential."
Colin Meager, Scottish Enterprise intellectual assets specialist team leader, said: "Scottish Enterprise works closely with the UK Intellectual Property Office to assist Scottish businesses in the identification, management and protection of their intellectual assets and welcomes the launch of these tools.
"The tools will greatly assist businesses in the development of their IP protection strategy, which is fundamental to both business growth and international success."
IP Equip is available to download for free from the Apple store iTunes and Android App store. This will give access to IP information on the go.
The other tools include IP Basics, which is a range of new guides for business owners, explaining how to maximise the potential of IP; and IP Health Check allows business owners to assess their own business for free with a tailored report to identify and value their IP.
IP Master Class is a course which enables advisors to advance their knowledge.