Monday 29 November 2010

IP departments feel pressure of economic downturn

The in-house patent team wished they'd asked for new computers instead of a pay rise
It presumably isn't a big surprise, but it's good to know that someone is quantifying it: according to US metrics men ipPerformance
"IP Operations have been dramatically affected by the economic downturn and as a result, companies are reporting staff, professional personnel, outside services, and fee expenditure cuts. These are some of the findings revealed in Intellectual Property (IP) Law Department Operations and Metrics Benchmark Report, a survey conducted by ipPerformance Group, an intellectual property management advisory and benchmarking firm that conducts research on intellectual property operations best practices.

The study reports on feedback from intellectual property leaders from 50 companies, representing 11 major industry sectors.

“Our study confirms that while companies’ IP departments – which include attorneys and staff – have stabilized, the workload has slightly increased,” reports Rob Williamson, president, ipPerformance Group. “With continued economic pressures, IP Departments are continuously evaluating their operation costs, practices, staffing for efficiency and effectiveness improvements.”

Survey participants were questioned on a range of topics including department expenses, professional and non-professional staffing, patent attorney workload, outside counsel trends including costs, and usage of innovation driven companies.

Among the findings that emerged from this research are the following:

* Patent attorneys experienced an increased workload. In this study, companies reported a 21% increase in the median research and development expenses to patent attorneys.

* Outside counsel spending in proportion to all IP Expenses was down 23%. The median company spent $40 million on IP expenses.

* Nearly half of the companies indicated that they are filing patent applications on less than half of the submitted invention disclosures.

* While there is a reduction in overall patenting activity in the past two years, the use of law firms versus in-house attorneys for patent application preparation and prosecution did not change significantly from 2009.

* The median average salary for Patent Attorneys is $180,000 and additional bonus is $15,025.

* The median number of Patent Attorneys in-house is 3 [The Departmental Christmas party must be fun ...]".
A full report of the survey findings is available from ipPerformance Group here.

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