The main function of the Institute is to ensure that the highest possible standards of professional practice are maintained amongst those offering services for the commercial exploitation, licensing and transfer of intellectual property. Members of the Institute are therefore required to adhere to a strict Code of Professional Conduct which is drawn up and enforced by the Executive Committee.

Founded in 1969, the IILP was the first organisation of its kind in the English-speaking world, and its activities today are widely recognised as being increasingly in the public interest.