IP GROWING IN IMPORTANCE
13 Jan, 2012
IP taking on growing strategic importance as global challenges mount, reveals new survey
Budget pressures continue to influence corporate IP management, while IP law firms face increased competition
- 77% of in-house IP professionals say their companies have a greater understanding of the importance of IP and IP valuation
· However, 74% of in-house IP professionals also highlighted the need for more focused IP management strategies
· 66% of in-house IP professionals say increased competition from new markets is significantly impacting their business, with the same percentage citing enforcement of IP Rights as a key priority
· 51% of law firm respondents report an increase in IP litigation work, while 50% identify client acquisition and retention as their main challenge.
Intellectual property (IP) is playing an increasingly important role in business strategies, requiring corporate IP professionals and their external counsel to become more focused in the ways in which they budget for, manage and defend critical IP assets. These are some of the key findings in CPA Global’s third annual State of the IP Industry Survey.
Seventy-seven per cent of in-house IP professionals reported a greater understanding of IP strength and quality in their organisations, while the same percentage also highlighted a greater awareness of the importance of IP valuation. Internal education programmes have played a key role in raising the profile of IP within corporates, with 54% of in-house practitioners citing more initiatives to educate board members and 76% reaching out with similar efforts to the various business units in their companies.
However, 74% of in-house IP professionals also highlighted the need for more focused IP management strategies. Both in-house and private practice IP professionals acknowledge that budgetary constraints remain a primary influence over IP strategy, with the unsettled economic outlook continuing to affect the way IP is managed. Among corporate respondents, 78% stated that budget control was one of the most important factors influencing their IP activities in 2011; while 55% of law firm respondents highlighted budgets as their corporate clients’ main concern. As a result, corporate IP teams said they were streamlining the administrative aspects of IP management and focusing their attention on ‘higher value’ IP and/or territories, with some saying they were looking to extend the type of work they outsourced to specialist IP management services providers.
Two-thirds (66%) of in-house respondents reported that increased competition from new markets was significantly impacting their business, with many also highlighting the rise of infringement activity around the globe as a major factor: 66% said that enforcement was a key priority in 2011 and 47% noted a greater volume of infringement work. However, due to budget and resource limitations, 39% said they would pursue only high-priority infringements, while 40% said that the difficulty of enforcing IP Rights was having a significant impact on their business.
More than half of all law firm respondents (51%) said they had experienced growth in IP litigation work, while 50% said they were undertaking more patent prosecution work on behalf of clients. But the market remains tough, with 50% of firms saying that acquiring or retaining clients was their biggest challenge. With corporates under pressure to control their IP budgets, law firms said that offering clients more creative pricing structures and working practices was vital to building future work and retaining clients.
Simon Webster, Business Operations Director at leading IP management and software services provider CPA Global, said: “The survey results show strong recognition for the importance and value of IP, with companies around the world increasingly building IP into their broader business strategies. In the face of ongoing pressure on budgets, understanding what you have in your IP portfolio and making sure your IP is aligned with your business objectives is all the more critical.
“The survey also shows that, with the emergence of new global markets and the various challenges they bring, IP professionals are having to do more work – in many cases with the same or less budget and resource. Therefore, both corporates and law firms are looking at more innovative ways to handle their IP management. As we are seeing at CPA Global, part of this involves greater use of IP management software as well as outsourcing an increasing number of tasks to specialist IP management services providers such as ourselves.”