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Legal Departments Feeling Pressure to Volume-Register IP Rights

Issued: June 01 2009
Corporate legal departments are finding themselves under pressure from top management to volume-register IP Rights, without too much thought for their true value, a new survey has revealed. In-house IP professionals say that one of their biggest challenges in 2009 is being faced with “too many patents and not enough time,” and generally with reduced numbers of staff. And they have counselled against the ‘file now, review later’ approach to IP management.
The State of the IP Industry Survey 2009, commissioned by CPA Global, paints a picture of tighter corporate IP budgets, reduced volumes of IP work for law firms, and severe pressure on IP resources both in legal departments and law firms. The economic downturn is largely to blame, according to the survey, with 51.9% of corporate respondents saying the credit crunch is having a detrimental effect on their IP strategies.
Despite the economic downturn, the majority of in-house IP professionals are seeing no drop off in the number of IP rights they are filing. Some 40% say there has been no change, while another 23% are actually increasing filings as pressure grows to ‘patent everything’. Only 26% say they plan to reduce the number of filings in 2009.
The survey represents the views of more than 200 IP professionals around the world.
“Although it’s encouraging to see that intellectual property is being pushed up the corporate agenda, top management need to understand that volume-filing can be a waste of time and money, often resulting in poor quality portfolios that are expensive to maintain and/or a host of patents that are never renewed,” said John Pryor, CPA Global’s vice president for patent portfolio optimization.
The survey show that, while 20% of corporations say they conduct quarterly IP audits, by far the largest proportion (41%) audit only on an annual basis, 10% audit every two years, and 4% say they don’t audit at all.


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