Intangible assets such as trade marks, patents, designs, copyrights and trade names are of enormous importance to the overall value of the company. Besides being actionable in civil law, an infringement of intellectual property rights may also be a criminal offence. The managers of a company may be liable under civil law and under criminal law for the infringement of intellectualy property rights by the companies directed by them. Experience shows that the criminal relevance of intellectual property right infringements is frequently underestimated.
Against this background as well as in view of the value which intangible property rights have for the corporate goodwill, IP compliance should be an integral part of corporate compliance. Efficient IP Compliance Management requires, amongst others, the monitoring of company-owned trade marks, designs and products with regard to colliding third-party rights.