Have you ever wondered why IP law firms are dealing with patent renewals or patent maintenance?
Patents have always been considered a legal matter, and we all know that legal matters can be very expensive. When we realized how expensive it is to maintain a patent, we started questioning if this should be considered a legal matter. Why is an annual payment to a patent office done by patent attorneys we wondered?
After months of careful research we realized that a legal firm does not necessarily need to handle the IP renewals, here is why:
- It is a waste of money
Nowadays many IP law firms are not renewing their customers' patents, they are outsourcing it. In the past legal firms have been dealing with patent renewals mainly due to the lack of interconnectivity in the world (pre-Internet and pre-online banking infrastructure). A lot has changed in this field since then, and as a result of our experience, our extensive work in the IP industry, and after many fruitful talks with our customers we realized that IP owners can be more cost effective, if choosing the right provider.
Surprisingly, IP law firms are rather outsourcing the patent renewal to IP service providers who are doing the renewal process, and might keep the hedging fees for themselves and very often work with expensive intermediaries.
Also, IP law firms charge a handling fee and additional billable hours for advice.
All in all, they might just be the middle-man in these transactions, making the renewals more expensive, without necessarily adding more value.
- Lack of financial transparency
We have always trusted legal firms, mainly because of our lack of knowledge in the legal field. However, in many particular instances of patent renewals we found that most IP law firms provide inadequate information, failing to relay the many other expenses that their clients are paying for whether they are aware of it or not. Handling fees from IP law firms and an inflated official fee are usually the only totals that companies have for deciphering their expenses.
- Lack of data
Many IP law firms are not providing the chance for their customers to have a clear overview of their patent renewals.We experienced a general lack of patent overview with the companies that changed to our services from their previous IP service provider. This results in frustration when IP responsibles have to decide or discuss whether to keep their patents with little foundation to assess patent costs over the next 5 years or not. The most common attempt is to correspond with your IP law firm back and forth over email, paying for simplistic excel spreadsheets that are inadequate for the cost simulations that most companies require in 2021.
- IP law firms are NOT inevitable
If we consider that some of these outsourcing IP law firms are just a middle-man in the whole patent renewal value chain, we can certainly say that they can be left out from the patent renewal process, all depending on how engaged they are in the process as advisors and active participants. Their added value can be so incremental in most of the cases when they outsource themselves, that it is not worth the time and expenses invested. Their involvement can also be detrimental, especially on the advice & counselling side.
If you want to have your invoice analysed for free and know more about how to save up to 50-75% on renewals, contact us!