This year’s results show that the value of intellectual property is becoming more appreciated within IP-owning businesses. The number of individuals reporting a budget increase has grown significantly from 44% in 2017 to 50% in 2019. More telling is the number of respondents reporting a decrease in budget, which has dropped from 21% to 12%. While it is too soon to tell whether this is an ongoing trend, our respondents are optimistic that their budgets will either grow or stay the same in the upcoming year.
As with previous surveys, the greatest concern for those in IP-owning businesses is finding more ways to make money from intellectual property. Despite the fixation on this issue, there has been no significant change in the amount of pressure from senior management to increase monetisation efforts. Other areas that have been flagged are managing costs and overseeing existing rights.
This year’s results show more confidence from respondents when it comes to managing their IP portfolios. In total, 26% of respondents from IP-owning businesses stated that their IP strategy was perfectly aligned with the overall business strategy. This percentage is up from 20% in 2017. Further, the number of respondents that feel there are areas for refinement has dropped 9% to 50%.
A new question that we introduced this year asked how IP-owning businesses expect their IP strategy to develop over the next five years. The top answer was a focus on more collaborative opportunities. As awareness of intellectual property grows, it will become increasingly important for IP strategies to be integrated into larger business objectives. Engagement and communication between departments will be critical in achieving this. A higher level of technology transfer and an increased focus on related rights (eg, data) came in as the second and third most-likely developments.
Private practitioners have also weighed in on how the management of intellectual property has evolved over the past year. Unsurprisingly, the search for new clients remains the most important concern. This is followed by the need to attract top-quality attorneys and offer more specialised services and solutions to clients.
The prosecution of patent applications scaled up in 2018, whereas the amount of litigation services being sought out has declined. Ultimately, prosecution work came in at 49% this year – up 8% from last year’s poll – while litigation has dropped by the same amount to sit at 25%. The difference compared to last year’s results is likely a reflection of the ongoing downward trend in patent litigation filings in the United States, which began in 2015.
Figure 9. In the coming year, do you expect the budget of your IP department to: (IP-owning company)
Figure 10. My company’s leadership appreciates the value and importance of intellectual property (IP-owning company)
Figure 11. My company’s leadership is actively involved in strategic planning related to intellectual property (IP-owning company)
Figure 12. What is your opinion on IP portfolio valuation? (please select a maximum of three options) (IP-owning company)
Figure 13. The IP function is coming under increasing pressure from senior management to monetise the company’s IP portfolios (IP-owning company)
Figure 14. We are putting less emphasis on IP monetisation than we did in the past (IP-owning company)
Figure 15. How aligned is IP strategy with business strategy in your organisation? (IP-owning company)
Figure 16. How do you expect your organisation’s IP strategy to develop over the next five years? (please select up to three answers) (IP-owning company)
Figure 17. Which of the following areas of work is the most important to your firm’s business model? (private practice)
Figure 18. In the past year, IP lawyers and attorneys have come under increasing pressure from clients to advise how best to monetise IP portfolios (private practice)
Figure 19. Which services does your firm offer? (private practice)
Figure 20. There is less interest among our clients in IP monetisation (private practice)
Table 1. Please rank the top three most important IP issues affecting your work (IP-owning company)
First most important
Second most important
Third most important
Finding ways to make money from your intellectual property
Managing the rights you own
Enforcing the rights you have
Protecting your portfolio
Assessing out-licensing opportunities
Doing IP due diligence in light of M&A
Lack of executive management support
Assessing in-licensing opportunities