Monday, 6 October 2008

Cutting the cost of IP acqusitions

Duncan Bucknell's IP Think Tank Blog carries a feature this morning entitled "3 ways to cut IP acquisition costs". The prolific and ever-provocative Duncan writes:

"The burgeoning economic downturn continues to put pressure on all departments of companies to reduce costs. The intellectual property acquisition function is clearly no exception. So here's 5 suggestions, what would you add?

1 - review your portfolio to identify pending or registered IP rights of lower value now and in the future, prioritise them, and lapse them (saves on annuities and prosecution costs of any pending applications);

2 - consider filing divisionals or continuations to extend prosecution rather than expend money in the short term on attorneys (of course, the act of filing these applications carries a cost of its own);

3 - consider whether applications for IP protection can sensibly be delayed;

4 - use lower cost filing methods, so for example: hire a patent attorney to carry more of the drafting, filing and prosecution costs internally, use PCT or Madrid for international applications, PCTFiler for National Phase entry, etc;

5 - consider blending your current attorneys with a lower cost firm for more routine work".

In global terms, I wonder whether the sort of savings which these suggestions are likely to achieve are likely to be relatively trivial in relation to the sort of business that is big enough to have the option of making them. Might greater savings, or greater income-generation, be made through cross-licensing of existing technologies, the adoption of more cost-effective marketing techniques such as co-branding, the responsible use of alternative dispute resolution rather than court-driven infringement ligitation; where IP rights are deemed superfluous, there is plenty of scope for developing online auction and licensing sites too. Finally, the delaying of applications in the pipeline looks like a recipe for chaos in the future if all the businesses within any given sector decide to press on with their previously-delayed applications at the same time.

If you have any thoughts on this topic, please let Duncan know directly and/or post your comments below.

1 comment:

Duncan said...

thanks Jeremy - I've added your comment and will add some further thoughts on it over at IP Think Tank.