Rule 7 of 7
When you look at organizations with larger portfolios a pattern emerges: IP functions begin to be taken in-house.
Given sufficient volume it often makes more financial sense to pay in-house paralegal or patent attorney salaries than to pay the hourly rates charged by patent firms.
However, a sense of balance needs to be maintained. There’s little point employing an experienced patent attorney full time (they aren’t cheap, as I’m sure you know!) if you don’t have enough work to keep him or her completely employed.
Instead, you should look at the different parts of the patent process and determine which tasks you can (or should!) take in-house.
For example, taking patent drafting in-house may not be practical due to the intermittent nature of drafting work over the course of, say, a year. However, coordinating foreign filings may be possible with the help of a specialist service provider. Costs can be reduced whilst the level of control can be maintained – or even increased.
Of course, you should also remember that your patent attorney (depending on the country) may also be a lawyer in a more general sense. Your business may not have enough patent work to keep a patent attorney going fulltime, but could a patent attorney fulfill other legal services requirements you have on an ongoing basis?
Contract drafting and review, compliance, IP strategy and general legal advice are all areas where a patent attorney may be able to provide useful input. Indeed, some patent attorneys will revel in the opportunity to work in broader areas than just patent drafting and prosecution.
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