Insights 28.07.2020

Why empowering IP professionals should be an industry priority

Every IP service provider’s goal is to support IP professionals in their work, but we can still do more to deliver to clients the insight and efficiencies they need to harvest the potential of their IP, says Reinhard Ottway, Chairman of NovumIP.

As businesses look for new ways to compete in the global economy, the role played by intellectual property (IP) and intangible assets is becoming increasingly important. This is reflected in the exponential rise in IP registrations over the last decades. The 2019 World Intellectual Property Office (WIPO) Indicators report showed a 72% increase in the number of patent filings and a 160% increase in the number of trademark filings globally from 2008 to 2018 alone.

As businesses expand the size and reach of their portfolios across multiple markets and geographies, the management and enforcement of IP has also become a more interesting and challenging undertaking. In our view, it also calls for a new type of approach to IP service delivery as a whole.

When IP processes meet business realities

Most global IP management and protection strategies entail a heavy administrative burden for IP owners. As IP filing numbers grow, IP departments in international businesses must negotiate a patchwork of IP regulations in different jurisdictions. At the same time, they need to manage disparate IP service providers, which typically focus on a single service or jurisdiction, and which often operate on competing or incompatible platforms.

And, while the number of filings continues to rise, IP budgets are typically not increasing, or at least not at the same speed. As a result, IP owners and their advisers also need to achieve a lot more with fewer resources.

This existing pressure has only been further exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on national and global economies. For IP owners to thrive in this new environment will require more efficient tools, services and technologies. This will be critical if they are to retain control of and better utilise their assets, strategies, workloads and budgets.

What can we, as service providers, do to help?

A holistic view of IP portfolios is needed to inform decisions and justify cost. But as long as legal advice and administrative support services stay in silos, this will remain a daily challenge for IP professionals.

While we cannot change the fragmented IP regulatory landscape, we believe that there are some steps that the IP service provider industry can and should take to drive progress and improvements. In particular, by becoming more collaborative and flexible in the ways in which we advise and work with IP owners, and by providing a joined-up service that unites attorney competence, business advice and streamlined administration via a single entry point and, ideally, a single technology platform.

In our vision for the future of IP services, IP owners and their chosen advisers will also have the flexibility to pick and choose between services, while using that same global platform. In other words, choosing only the solutions and tools they need, using local agents of their choice, and tailoring each service to meet their own unique needs.

We believe that such a ‘modular’ approach will be more meaningful for clients, because it will deliver better value for money and enable them to use resources more wisely. A single entry point for all IP matters will also help to deliver the necessary data-driven insights, tools, best practice and strategic guidance that businesses and their external advisers need to make informed decisions about the best way to manage and enforce their IP rights.

NovumIP was formed in 2019 as a result of the collaboration between Novagraaf, a leading European IP law firm and service provider, and PAVIS, the market leader in patent annuity and other IP support services in Germany. We had a vision to combine the broad IP competence of Novagraaf’s patent and trademark attorneys with the process expertise and automated systems of PAVIS, so that clients could benefit from a single point of entry for both.

Of course, there is still more that we can do to improve the ways in which we deliver services and solutions to our clients and partners, but we believe that by combining IP legal competence with smart processes and increased digitalisation, we can begin the journey of helping IP owners to derive the maximum value from IP and also show its value in the boardroom.

Reinhard Ottway is Chairman of NovumIP, a new global IP service provider.

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. In future articles, we will be covering IP efficiencies and value creation in more depth. Please subscribe below to join our mailing list.

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