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Intellectual Property Law is Booming – Can your Firm Handle the Growth?

It’s not surprising that law firms specializing in IP filings, enforcement and prosecution are busier than ever.

More than 3 million patents were filed in 2017, the eighth consecutive yearly increase.
More than 3 million patents were filed in 2017, the eighth consecutive yearly increase.

Intellectual property has long been the backbone of innovation. The ingenious ideas captured in patents, trademarks, copyrights, designs and more fuel countless industries. It’s not surprising then that law firms specializing in IP filings, enforcement and prosecution are busier than ever. More than 3 million patents were filed in 2017, the eighth consecutive yearly increase. Multi-year growth was also experienced with new trademarks, which saw 9 million-plus applications along with increasing numbers of industrial design, geographical indications and even plant variations.

Why Intellectual Property Is Growing at a Rapid Rate

Intellectual Property has been around for more than two centuries, so why is the industry experiencing accelerated growth right now? A big reason is technology. New advancements are allowing creative minds to bring ideas to realization faster than ever before. At the same time, competitors and other parties can also replicate these innovations just as easily. Emerging economies, like China, are also providing a new source of IP generation. As global industries become more intertwined, the need for this legal service is only set to grow.

The Demands on Law Firms

In theory, this is good news for the IP firms that represent creative owners. However, the demand for this type of legal support has surged at such a rapid rate that firms can struggle to keep up. Each filing, commercialization and enforcement takes considerable effort – not to mention paperwork and billing. This endeavour requires a significant number of payments. Obtaining and managing a patent for just one invention in over 50 major jurisdictions costs more than half-a-million dollars USD. Of course, the protection of IP is vital to the existence and profitability of many businesses. Additionally, not all countries maintain an effective and strong IP enforcement system and some experts argue a better ROI from filing in these regions rather than risk infringement.

All of these factors mean that lawyers must communicate with associates and vendors from all parts of the globe. The billing for these activities can be time consuming and costly because of the number of foreign currencies.

Solutions for Reduced Administration

To manage this growing challenge, a number of firms have opted to use WU® GlobalPay for Law Firms. This no-software solution integrates with existing accounting systems and centralizes all incoming and outgoing payments. Administrators can complete payments in over 130 currencies to more than 200 countries/territories. They can also lock-in foreign exchange rates for up to 240 days to control exposure and reduce risk. This helpful tool helps to maintain cash flow and budget more accurately.

As the IP industry continues to grow, firms must find solutions to create efficiencies and reduce manual efforts or the workload will become unmanageable. Engaging a global partner to simplify this process today can provide much needed future support for this important legal sector.

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