Questions to ask from your next intellectual property provider

Reading time:
9 minutes
November 28, 2023

As a patent owner, making a well-informed decision about your intellectual property provider is a necessity. Whether you're managing the intellectual properties of an SME, national or multinational corporation, the choice you make influences the protection of your innovations, and the financial health of your business. This guide will walk you through the most important questions you should ask from your next intellectual property provider to make sure you choose the right one. 

Why does working with the right intellectual property provider matter?


Choosing an expert intellectual property provider provides you with convenience; it's a cornerstone in safeguarding your intellectual assets. Effective IP maintenance is the first step in ensuring your patents remain enforceable and meet legal requirements. Nowadays, when innovation races against time, a lack of proper IP management can affect market competitiveness and financial goals. Your provider’s proficiency in navigating this landscape is not an overhead but a strategic investment.

Managing your IP with law firms


Law firms have a long history as the traditional providers of IP management, offering a blend of security and legal counsel. However, this traditional pathway isn’t always the best solution: higher costs, lack of transparency in pricing, paired with an old-school structure that is not suitable for the evolutionary pace a modern business requires. And most importantly, IP law firms in most cases outsource the IP renewal process to IP management software providers, so they can renew their clients’ IP indirectly. By having middlemen in their processes, their service fee will be much higher without their clients’ knowing that it wasn’t their law firm who renewed their IP portfolio. 

Embracing innovation with IP management software


Modern IP management software providers, like PatentRenewal.com, are not just service providers, they're innovators. By prioritizing efficiency, transparency, and cost-effectiveness, they directly solve the traditional limitations of law firms. These platforms simplify the complexities involved in renewing patents, saving costs while meeting compliance. 

Would you like to know more about the advantages of using the right IP management software? Our detailed guide, "IP Management Software 101: What Are The Benefits?" offers detailed insights into the benefits of innovative IP management. 

Key questions for finding your ideal intellectual property provider


Asking the right questions is your tool to discover the real methodology of your next provider. The responses will reveal much about their service quality and alignment with your business needs. 

Clear, comprehensive answers are your safeguards against common opacity, and will help you thoroughly understand the process of renewing your IP with a specific intellectual property provider.

  • Which jurisdictions do you cover?

The scope of a provider’s jurisdiction coverage is a window into their global capabilities. It’s essential to clarify not just where they operate currently, but if they can match your potential IP renewal expansion into new markets. For instance, if you're planning to grow your IP portfolio in Asia or in the Middle East in the future, can they support IP management in these regions? This foresight is important in ensuring uninterrupted IP protection that matches your growth strategy. 

At PatentRenewal.com we can provide a global coverage for your full patent portfolio. Moreover, we fully support your patent renewal journey in jurisdictions where you need a local agent to pay the patent office. In those jurisdictions where no local representative is needed for renewing patents, we do not hire any local agents. 

  • What types of IP do you work with?

The variety of IP managed can give you an overview of your potential provider’s adaptability. Can they navigate the complexity of patents, trademarks, copyrights, and more? For example, if your business is diversifying its portfolio to include creative content, you'll need to consider whether you would like to use an all-around solution that can help you with both copyrights and patents, or multiple, more IP specific platforms. Their competency across this spectrum is crucial for comprehensive IP strategy implementation.

By using our service, you can have several types of your intellectual property in good hands. We help you to protect your patents, utility models, and designs as well.  

  • Can my team collaborate and integrate other tools?

You need to choose a provider whose platform can integrate seamlessly with your existing tools, systems, and workflows your team already utilizes. Does it support common file formats, API integrations, collaborative platforms or even just a basic Excel export? The ability to integrate into your existing operational setup is a sign of a forward-thinking intellectual property provider. 

If you decide to switch to our IP management software, we will handle this process with ease. We provide seamless integration and data transmission through every IP management, case management, and invoicing systems

  • What are the payment options?

Flexible payment structures are often a reflection of a provider’s client-centric philosophy. It’s fundamental to understand if they offer flexible payments, accept various currencies, or require a high amount upfront. For instance, if your financial planning operates on a quarterly basis, a provider that requires annual prepayments can disrupt your quarterly budget. Clarity and flexibility in payment terms are important for harmonious financial planning. 

PatentRenewal.com gives you the flexibility to customize your billing options. You have the opportunity to choose between monthly, quarterly, and yearly invoice cycles. Moreover, we don’t require any payment upfront, you only need to settle the invoices for your renewals as per your payment plan.

  • How do you handle currency exchange?

As the official fees have to be paid in the local currencies, chances are high that your new intellectual property provider will need to convert your invoiced currency into several ones. This can have a significant impact on your patent-related costs, so it’s essential to understand how providers handle this matter. Do they offer a fixed exchange rate, or is it subject to real-time market fluctuations? Can you choose which currency you want to be invoiced in? Unexpected shifts in exchange rates can inflate your expenses, therefore you need a provider that can navigate the FOREX market efficiently.

If you start using our IP management software, you can choose from any currency that suits you best. On your invoice, a foreign exchange deposit will be present to cover the exchange rate. However, with PatentRenewal.com, you will always receive the unused funds in a refund within a year. 

  • Do you provide a detailed cost breakdown with your invoice? 

Not being transparent about the costs of a service can significantly decrease trust between intellectual property providers and customers. Demonstrating openness regarding costs and insisting on clear invoicing reflects genuine financial responsibility.

It's crucial to highlight any additional charges for support, currency exchange, data migration or taxation that may be part of the initial offer. These supplementary fees are often hidden within specific IP-related cost categories. 

Moreover, some companies tend to present their service fee as low, while they raise their fees in other categories without highlighting them. Therefore, it is always important to review the inclusions of each cost category and verify whether for example, the invoiced official fees align with the official fees set by jurisdictions. You can see other invoice related best practices in our article: "The top 10 mistakes in renewal invoices you should check,".

At PatentRenewal.com, we prioritize complete transparency. Our patent platform provides detailed insights on every invoice and patent-related cost category. No more hidden fees. Request a price comparison and see for yourself how transparent and cost-effective we are.

  • How and how far in advance can I provide you with instructions for my renewals?

The capacity to modify IP renewal instructions, perhaps in response to changing market conditions or strategic pivots, is critical. If a key patent becomes less relevant due to market evolution, are you able to put it “on hold” without paying extra charges close to the renewal date? A provider’s flexibility in this is reflective of their understanding and accommodation of fluid business environments. 

Our IP management software gives you the freedom to change renewal instructions with a single click, put a patent “on hold” or even let it go into surcharge. 90 days before a patent is due, you will receive the renewal notification, so you have one full month to make any changes to that case until your invoice gets issued. This kind of autonomy lets you always be aligned with your strategic decisions. 

  • What support options do you offer?

Support shouldn’t be envisioned as a simple help desk, but as an extension of your team. The range and availability of support are critical. Is assistance available 24/7, considering global time zones? Can you reach out through multiple channels like email, chat, or phone? Do they charge extra for customer support? An open-minded customer support team represents an intellectual property provider’s commitment to your operational success.

We are positive that our Customer Success team makes a huge impact on the success stories of our customers, as they are here to assist our customers with any difficulties or questions they have while using our IP management software. They are available on every channel and they will get customer queries solved as soon as possible. Our Help Center is also ready to answer the most frequently asked questions 24/7. 

  • What does the onboarding and transition process look like?

A smooth onboarding process is the first step in a harmonious client-provider journey. Is it a guided, step-by-step process, or are you expected to navigate it independently? Do they charge for the onboarding? Are training resources or live support available to ensure seamless integration into your workflows? The emphasis placed on a seamless onboarding experience speaks volumes about a provider’s dedication to client satisfaction. 

At PatentRenewal.com the onboarding happens only in 3 simple steps, depending on the urgency of your renewals. After a successful meeting with one of our experts, you can review and sign our standard Service and License Agreement. Then, to make the data transition process seamless, you can send us all your patent data or provide us with your current IP renewal provider's contact information.  We will take care of the easy switch and transfer all your data to your new platform for you. As a last step, we will organize a walkthrough meeting where you will be introduced to your new IP management platform and we will show you how to use the main functions the software provides. All of this is free of charge. 

  • How robust are your data security measures?

Having your data in security, especially in the world of IP, is a must. Understanding the security protocols, data encryption standards, and compliance certifications (like GDPR, HIPAA, or SOC 2) is invaluable. Do they conduct regular security audits? How do they respond to data breaches if they occur? The protection of your sensitive information is a responsibility that your provider must handle with the highest level of professionalism.

We know the value of protecting our and your data properly, switching to us we can guarantee not only better fees but 100% data security as well.  

Choosing an intellectual property provider like PatentRenewal.com is a strategic decision. It’s about investing in a partnership that optimizes processes, and provides the peace of knowing your intellectual properties are guarded proficiently. Enter the new era of IP management and book a demo today!