Navigating patent renewals: 5 reasons why your clients are moving to a new patent renewal service.
We have talked to a large number of patent holders in order to understand what they value in patent renewal services. Given that we only partner with IP law firms, it’s important for us to understand why clients would switch provider as it is a loss of revenue for the IP law firm.
Here are the top challenges clients are facing (we suggest you consider addressing them sooner rather than later).
5. Total renewal costs are an issue
Many clients have a feeling that they are paying a lot more than the official fee to local authorities but have a hard time figuring out why it is so expensive to renew a patent.
Clients value transparency on all cost elements in the renewal process: exchange rates, official fees, local agent fees, etc. Being able to check, for example, the exchange rates being used is a great way to build trust in pricing.
Transparency is a delicate topic, as most providers claim to offer fully transparent services. However, the numbers show large discrepancies in total renewal costs, which in the end confuses clients and damages the client-firm relationship. With companies increasingly looking for more cost-effective solutions, IP law firms need to pay close attention to their total renewal costs and not just the provider costs.
We have compared the price quotes from different service providers. It is very clear that a lot of inefficiencies are baked into the value chain. You can read more about this in my last article.
4. Faulty audit trail clouds decision making.
Most renewal platforms are digital. Yet many of these don’t have a consistent and easily accessible audit trail surrounding the decision being made on the portfolio.
Important decisions to renew are often made on the basis of excel files sent by mail or by telephone call, leaving the audit trail spread across different files and formats, some of them not documented at all. This adds to the fog and it clouds the decision-makers’ ability to make sound decisions based on clear data and a portfolio overview.
From a legal standpoint, in terms of responsibility and in terms of the strategic position, not knowing who did what and when can lead to a lot of challenging scenarios that an IP law firm and their respective clients want to avoid getting themselves into.
Working with an inefficient process culminates in inadequate data and frustration when having to take strategic decisions on a patent portfolio. Indeed, it can be very stressful when combined with upcoming deadlines.
It is truly like losing the torch and walking in the dark. And you don't want to be in the dark when dealing with what is in most cases a company’s most valuable asset!
3. Freedom and feeling of ownership are neglected.
When purchasing a service including software, you expect that you can customise and use all features like inviting colleagues onto the platform, white labelling it with own colours and name, etc. But oftentimes, patent holders feel that they are restricted with the software that they are getting.
They want to feel empowered and enchanted by using technology; they don't want to feel like they are missing out.
We hear that clients find it difficult to use competing platforms with inflexible settings for customising users’ level of access. By default, most users either have too many user privileges that are outside their area of responsibility, which makes them afraid to make mistakes, or too few rights, restricting them in their work.
2. Important data is not available and may be outdated.
Most platforms don’t give clients real-time access to their patent data. Often , the information provided is unreliable and outdated. There are reasons for this, however, which I will cover in another article touching upon the challenges of keeping patent data secure and updated.
Renewing a patent is all about trusting the process because the consequences of an error can be significant. Clients want to see the real live status of a patent renewal process in order to feel safe. Being able to check when the provider receives funds, see the amount sent, etc. in real-time is a great way to build confidence. This is not different from package delivery.
I find that Amazon is great at understanding the level of transparency needed to make its customers comfortable:
In addition, patent holders wish to do simulations of their portfolio cost without having to continuously request specific sets of data from their IP law firm. In short, they want to be in control of their data and information, in real time.
1. Stakeholders can’t navigate the portfolio or make sense of it.
Most renewal platforms are built for administrators from IP Law firms. However, the people on the side of the clients have various levels of expertise in IPR and they are typically not administrators. They might not be familiar with technical terms like reference numbers, publication numbers, etc.
Clients would prefer to label and group their patents using more well-known identifiers such as markets, product categories, subproducts, etc. These labels enable administrators and clients to understand the portfolio and its commercial value.
Client management, R&D, sales, and finance look at a portfolio from different viewpoints. Some prefer to view their patent portfolio in relation to the market while others would like to segment by product division. This is an important element in understanding the commercial value of each patent and making the right decision when it comes to renewing them.
In addition, from a front-end perspective, most platforms are not acting like a true friend to the many different kinds of users who end up not maneuvering comfortably and intuitively through the different features available. Pop-ups, tutorials, guides, in-software support and FAQs are all features that can increase the ease of use to avoid negative experiences, which we hear about a lot.
Patentrenewal.com: we help you improve your service to your clients
We have designed a white-label platform that gives your clients access to a cutting edge portal that matches your firm’s brand. All aspects of the service are tailored to your company, including invoices and letterheads.
We know that you have special clients and different workflows. Some will want basic access to the platform, some would like to take full control of renewals, and others would prefer you to make renewal decisions for them.
For that reason, we are giving you a tool that you can customise around each client relationship. If you wish, you can invite your clients to their case management platforms and give them access to real-time status on their portfolio with full transparency.
Lastly, you can be notified when your clients change instructions on the platform to enable you to be more proactive when advising on portfolio matters.
You never have to wait for support because we offer in-app 24/7 support to help you.