How can the IP industry deliver on its promise of efficiency for clients?

As an industry, we are continually looking for new ways to streamline and improve services to save our clients time and money. However, there are other opportunities to drive efficiencies that we believe should be addressed by IP providers, says Thomas Gruber.

As businesses have expanded globally, so too have the operations and responsibilities of in-house IP departments and their external advisers. Today, in-house professionals will typically oversee large portfolios of IP assets, spanning multiple countries and dependencies, and involving numerous suppliers, systems and tools.

To support them, IP service providers have so far focused their efforts on commoditising administrative tasks, helping to improve accuracy, drive efficiency and lower costs in high risk but routine areas, such as patent annuities, trademark renewals and IP recordals.

While this has enabled many IP departments to save money, it has separated service delivery from strategic advice, which in turn has led to its own challenges.

Services and tools have become disconnected and customisation discouraged, forcing clients to take what they are given, and removing the client’s freedom to choose local delivery partners, as well as their ability to manage their portfolios and IP data centrally via a single tool.

What does efficiency mean to us?

In our view, the future of IP service delivery lies in reconnecting the now separated disciplines of legal advice, administrative processes and technology. Only by resolving the disconnect between multiple tools, low-cost providers and external counsel, will we be able to help IP professionals to achieve more, in less time, at a lower cost and with higher confidence.

Digital transformation and demand for greater transparency is already leading the IP industry in this direction, but there is still more that can be done. For example, many clients are finding themselves locked into long-term use of a supplier’s technology or lacking access to the personalised service delivery they need to design a holistic approach to IP management that suits their unique needs.

Efficient IP services and tools should not have to come at the cost of flexibility and personalisation. Instead, the focus should be on providing a global platform that offers modular IP services, so that clients can access the support they need without having to take all elements of a service or migrate their data across to an entirely new platform each time they change supplier.

By centralising data and services, IP can be more efficiently maintained, making it easier for IP departments to achieve the global and ‘holistic’ view that is needed to inform decision-making. An open IT infrastructure with interoperable interfaces will provide flexibility and increase coherence between legal advice, technology and administrative processes, and allow for the introduction of time-saving automation. In addition, the use of a global platform to provide access to modular services will enable the seamless delivery of both legal and administrative services, across all jurisdictions and markets – while retaining that all-important personal touch.

The competitive advantage

In a market increasingly impacted by consolidation, it’s critical that companies and law firms have access to greater choice in the services and suppliers they select.

In our vision for the future of the IP industry, IP professionals will be freed up to focus on their main objectives, as service providers work to remove the complexity and administrative burden that currently goes hand-in-hand with managing a global IP portfolio.

As long as services remain disconnected and inflexible in silos, IP professionals will not be able to get the value or strategic oversight that they need from their providers. To make a real difference, all services need to be delivered efficiently and seamlessly, preferably through interoperable tools that speed up manual processes and provide a global, holistic view of the IP estate.

Thomas Gruber is CEO of PAVIS, a NovumIP company.

As part of its new manifesto, Smart IP: Three priorities for value creation in the new global IP economy, NovumIP has outlined three challenges that it believes must be overcome to meet its vision for the future of IP services: Empowering IP professionals, Delivering efficient IP administration, and Driving value creation. 

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