article just posted online (and printed as the cover story
in the September issue), Emma Barraclough discusses seven
trends that are disrupting the IP market – from
technology to globalisation via cost pressures, the changing
demands on in-house counsel and the emergence of new
The article also looks at some of the new businesses that
are emerging in the IP marketplace, such as IP-Portunity,
A&O’s contract lawyer business Peerpoint and
the virtual firm K2. And interviewees such as Katrina Burchell,
Bart Lieben and Gwilym Roberts offer their own predictions
about how IP practice will develop in the future.
Some of the trends will be familiar to readers: tighter
budgets, desire for more flexible working, the move away from
the billable hour and the need for more sophisticated advice.
Others, such as the need for multi-faceted advice, the use of
part- or unqualified people for certain tasks, and the
integration of IP advice into general business strategy, may be
more of a surprise.
Some of these trends are
simply the result of economic and social shifts, others come
from specific legal changes such as the global growth of the
Madrid Protocol, the popularity of the PTAB in the US and
harmonisation in Europe (some patent practitioners turn white
just at the mention of the Unitary Patent and UPC). Yet others
are side-effects of changes in technology, such as electronic
filing and renewal, and more rapid communication.
Taken to extremes, that begs questions such as: could a
robot do your job? Would it be better than you are? CIPA, the
UK’s patent attorney association, is holding a
debate on exactly that topic in November (motion: "This
House believes it is inevitable that, within 25 years, a patent
will be filed and granted without human intervention"). In a
article, Charles WK Gritton, chief technology officer of
Hillcrest Labs, went even further, asking "Will Watson [the IBM
supercomputer, pictured left] make patents obsolete?"
These may seem like abstract questions, but as fundamental
challenges circle the IP business they will become increasingly
real for many practitioners. And ultimately those who will be
successful will embrace the changes rather than ignore
Thanks and good luck!
article is Emma’s last for Managing IP, as she is
leaving us to pursue new opportunities. She joined back in
November 2003, initially as Asia editor based in our Hong Kong
office, where her legal experience and ability to speak Chinese
was invaluable in building up our coverage of the region.
From 2006 until this year, Emma was based in the UK and has
had a range of roles including editing the monthly magazine,
interviewing many leading IP figures, helping establish this blog and, most
recently, building the popular Women in IP
Network. She will be familiar to many readers not just for
her clear, balanced and thoughtful writing but also as the face
of many of our awards dinners and conferences. You may have
seen her rushing past on her fold-up bicycle at events as far
afield as Beijing and San Diego!
It’s been a great pleasure to work with Emma
over the past 12 years and we will miss her on Managing IP but
wish her and her family well for the future. Readers may be
interested to know that we are now hiring for a reporter/deputy
editor based in the UK (job description and salary will depend
on qualifications and experience):
details and an application form are available here. Please
pass these details on to anyone who you think might be