Law firms face more pressure over cost and quality
Managing IP is part of the Delinian Group, Delinian Limited, 4 Bouverie Street, London, EC4Y 8AX, Registered in England & Wales, Company number 00954730
Copyright © Delinian Limited and its affiliated companies 2024

Accessibility | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Modern Slavery Statement

Law firms face more pressure over cost and quality

Law firms are under increasing pressure to offer clients fixed-fee billing arrangements, according to a survey by CPA Global

cpa-challenge-300.jpg

The IP management business received responses from more than 670 law firms and 930 corporates in its latest annual survey into the state of the market.

Fixed-fee billing was cited as one of the challenges facing IP practices by more than half of the law firm respondents, along with the pressure to attract new clients (cited by three-quarters of respondents), and growing profitability (cited by two-thirds).

Although the trend towards fixed-fee billing for IP filing and renewal work has been around for some years, it is often associated with clients representing some of Asia-Pacific’s emerging powerhouse IP filers. These companies have been able to leverage their high volumes of out-bound filing work to negotiate lower fixed-fee arrangements.

cpa-fixedfees-400.jpg

CPA’s survey, however, reveals that demand for fixed-fee bills is growing from both domestic and in-bound clients, and across patent filing and prosecution, patent renewals and trade mark renewals.

“Although law firms may say that demands for fixed fees might affect patent quality, corporates are also increasingly demanding an increase in quality. Clients are asking more of their law firms and they are feeling pressures on all sides as a result,” said Haydn Evans, vice president of IP Solutions at CPA Global.

cpa-infringement-300.jpg

The survey also asked respondents to comment on levels of infringement of their IP rights. Corporate representatives said infringement of their trade marks and patents had grown by around one-quarter, while infringement of their domain names was up by almost one-fifth.

When the same question was also put to law firms, more of them said they did not know whether levels of infringement of their clients’ IP had fallen, risen or stayed the same.

“Their answer suggests that law firms need to get closer to their clients’ businesses and find out how they are using their IP,” said Evans. “The results of the survey suggest that corporates are placing more importance on IP and want to align it more closely with the rest of their business. Corporate respondents also told us they are making more use of patent searching services to find out what their competitors are up to.”

“All of this means that people from in-house IP teams are spending more time with their colleagues in R&D and the commercial departments. The knock-on effect is that law firms are coming under greater pressure to help their clients be more strategic about how they use their IP.”

more from across site and ros bottom lb

More from across our site

External counsel for automotive companies explain how trends such as AI and vehicle connectivity are affecting their practices and reveal what their clients are prioritising
We provide a rundown of Managing IP’s news and analysis coverage from the week, and review what’s been happening elsewhere in IP
The winners of the awards will be revealed at a gala dinner in New York City on April 25
Counsel debate the potential outcome of SCOTUS’s latest copyright case after justices questioned whether they should dismiss it
Each week Managing IP speaks to a different IP lawyer about their life and career
The small Düsseldorf firm is making a big impact in the UPC. Founding partner Christof Augenstein explains why
The court criticised Oppo’s attempts to delay proceedings and imposed a penalty, adding that the Chinese company may need to pay more if the trial isn’t concluded this year
Miguel Hernandez explains how he secured victory for baby care company Naterra in his first oral argument before the Federal Circuit
The UPC judges are wrong – restricting access to court documents, and making parties appoint a lawyer only to have a chance of seeing them, is madness
The group, which includes the Volkswagen, Seat and Audi brands, is now licensed to use SEPs owned by more than 60 patent owners
Gift this article