by Alok Aggarwal, Hedda Pahlson-Moller, Evalueserve
Around 175,000 patent applications are filed with the European Patent Office (EPO) every year. Of these patent application filings, a significant number – almost 44 percent per year – are made by non-European states. This clearly indicates that a great deal of patenting activity is taking place in various organisations across the world, with the accelerated rate of R&D taking place in emerging countries such as India and China. Evalueserve estimates that as many as 223,000 patent applications will be filed in Europe in the year 2010.
Within Europe, approximately 8,000 attorneys and agents are registered with the EPO, to prepare, file and prosecute patent applications. They are also engaged in other intellectual property work, e.g., preparing, filing and prosecuting trademark applications and copyrights, IP litigation and IP asset management. In order to meet the rising demand for intellectual property (IP) work, Evalueserve predicts that more than 2,000 additional attorneys and agents will be required in Europe by 2010, to avoid a sharp rise in costs incurred by applicants.
Currently, many large organisations have in-house IP divisions with agents, associates, lawyers and business development professionals who handle all kinds of IP work. However, most small and medium-sized enterprises do not have separate IP divisions; and due to reasons such as cost, quality and efficiency, many large firms often outsource some – or all – of their IP work to external firms.
Since both the price and demand for IP services is likely to escalate during the next few years, and as corresponding budgets (for IP creation and maintenance) are likely to grow only at the rate of inflation, more and more companies and law firms are becoming worried about jeopardising the quality of their intellectual property. Furthermore, as significant Research and Development (R&D) will be carried out in emerging countries such as India and China, many companies are beginning to explore the potential of offshoring their IP services to third parties, particularly those located in lowwage countries such as India. There are around 600 patent agents registered with the Indian Patent Office in India as well as approximately 300 IP professionals who are not. Evalueserve estimates that about one-third of these 900 professionals currently provide the following kinds of patentrelated services to European and American end clients, and predicts that this number is likely to double to 1,800-2,000 by 2010.
- Literature Searches and Prior Art Searches
- Technology and Patentability Assessment
- Patent Application Drafting
- Patent Application Prosecution
- Patent Claim Mapping
- Patent Portfolio Management
- Translation of Patents
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