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Efficiency Under Threat for IP Teams as Workload Pressures Continue to Increase, Reveals CPA Global IP Industry Survey

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

  • 77% of corporate IP professionals and 64% of law firm practitioners highlight volume of work as a major obstacle
  • 59% of corporate respondents say achieving greater alignment of IP and business strategy is having a significant impact on their roles
  • 75% of law firm respondents cite attracting new clients as a main challenge

Intellectual property (IP) professionals around the world are facing growing threats to their efficiency as the increasing awareness of IP’s strategic value drives a continued upsurge in work. At the same time, corporate IP teams are struggling to cope with ongoing budget and resource pressures, while, for law firms, attracting new clients and growing profitability are seen as major challenges.

These are some of the key findings in CPA Global’s 2014 State of the IP Industry Survey, published today. More than 1,600 IP professionals from corporates and law firms responded to the survey, which was commissioned by CPA Global, the world’s leading IP management software and services company.

The survey reveals that 77% of corporate IP professionals and 64% of law firm practitioners see increasing volumes of work as a key threat to the efficiency of their IP team. The other challenges to efficiency most frequently cited are ‘too much administration’ (64% corporates; 47% law firms) and ‘ability to scale up or down’ (58% corporates; 55% law firms). Meanwhile, 63% of corporate respondents report that increased pressure on budgets and resources is one of the factors most impacting the work of their IP team. This is echoed by law firm respondents, with 62% highlighting such pressures as a major influence on their clients’ IP needs.

IP work is increasing in a number of different areas. For corporate respondents, the three areas of growing activity most frequently cited are patent searching (52%), patent prosecution (45%), and domestic patent filing (44%); whereas for law firm respondents they are patent prosecution (48%), domestic patent filing (46%), and litigation (42%).

Reflecting greater global recognition of the value of IP and a trend towards more strategic IP management, corporate respondents report that (other than budget/resource pressures) the factors that are having the most impact on their work include the need for greater alignment of IP with business strategy (59%) and increased pressure to optimise/monetize IP portfolios (49%).

The importance of aligning IP coverage with a company’s broader business strategy is reinforced by the fact that 52% of corporate respondents cite failure to achieve such alignment as a main risk to their company’s IP assets. Other main risks identified by corporate respondents include litigation from competitors (50%) and limited budget (48%).

In terms of the challenges facing IP practices, those most frequently cited by law firm respondents are attracting new clients (75%), growing profitability (67%) and pressure for fixed-fee billing (53%). The thorny issue of fixed-fee billing featured prominently in law firm responses. When asked to identify the services where clients were seeking fixed fees, law firm respondents highlighted several areas, with domestic patent filing and prosecution (58%), overseas (inbound) patent filing and prosecution (54%), trademark renewals (53%) and patent renewals (51%) being most prominent.

Simon Webster, Chief Business Development Officer at CPA Global, said: “The IP market continues to heat up, with the year-on-year increase in global patent filings showing no sign of slowing down. In such a highly competitive market, IP professionals are increasingly being called upon to operate at a more strategic level, helping their companies or clients to realize the full value of their IP portfolio and ensure alignment with the organization’s broader business strategy.

“The growth in patent searching activity for corporate IP teams suggests that this is increasingly being seen as a key component of strategic IP management and an essential step in developing a quality patent portfolio. Patent search helps businesses better understand the technology landscape in which they are operating and, therefore, to determine how best to develop and deploy their IP assets.

“However,” Webster added, “the survey also shows that resourcing remains a major issue, with greater pressure to do more with less. Respondents working in law firms report pressure from all sides as they seek to differentiate themselves from their competitors in order to attract and retain clients. The solution in many cases is to move up the value chain, taking on a more strategic advisory role and providing clients with greater insights into portfolio management and optimization. This is important, both in terms of strengthening client relationships and increasing income for the law firms.

“The ability of IP professionals to focus on higher-level and higher-value work is being facilitated to a large extent by third-party IP management service and software providers, such as CPA Global, who help free up internal resources by handling many of the important, but more administrative, time-consuming tasks. We are increasingly supporting corporate and law firm clients, not just in terms of increasing cost efficiency and reducing risk, but also in helping them make more informed decisions through the data and market intelligence that is provided through our tailored IP software solutions and specialist IP services such as patent search and analytics.”

For further information and a copy of CPA Global’s 2014 State of the IP Industry Survey report, please visit

State of the IP Industry Survey – Methodology

CPA Global’s 2014 State of the IP Industry Survey was conducted earlier this year. Results were collated from 1,602 responses from IP professionals, divided between corporates (931 responses) and law firms (671 responses). Of the corporate respondents, 40% were based in Europe, 33% in the Americas, and 27% in Asia/Australasia. Of the law firm respondents, 39% were based in the Americas, 35% in Europe, and 24% in Asia/Australasia.

About CPA Global

CPA Global is the world's leading intellectual property (IP) management and IP software specialist. With offices across Europe, the United States and Asia Pacific, CPA Global supports many of the world’s best known corporations and law firms with a range of IP and broader legal services, helping them to manage risk, cost and capacity, and realize greater value for their businesses and IP assets.

CPA Global helps corporates and law firms in managing valuable IP Rights, such as patents, designs and trademarks, ensuring that IP portfolios are protected, maintained and regularly reviewed in order to maximize value. Working closely with its clients, CPA Global ensures they have the best information on which to base IP decisions, and the best support in terms of helping implement those decisions.

Founded in Jersey, Channel Islands in 1969, CPA Global today employs some 2,000 people, serving clients’ needs in 200 jurisdictions through its own offices and an extensive agent network. For further information, please visit:

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