By Alex Cregan ‑ April 13, 2017
Historically, IP law firms have managed the global patent renewal and annuity payments for their client base.
The trouble is, it’s not a great business for those firms. There’s a huge administrative burden and cost, matched with very low levels of reward. It also ties employees up on low-level tasks such as sending out reminders, processing instructions, answering queries and chasing invoices.
Even more of an issue is the level of risk. If a payment is missed on a single patent and it lapses, the client can lose their valuable IP and the firm can be sued for malpractice. On top of all of that the funding of client annuity payments globally can place a heavy cash flow burden on firms and introduce financial risks to the practice.
A number of practices have therefore looked to get out of that business. But trying to exit it alone has its own risks: will your clients do the right due diligence when you tell them to select a payment services provider? Who manages the handover and ensures due dates aren’t missed? Who verifies the data and due dates are actually correct? When exactly does the responsibility change hands?
Clients with low levels of ongoing filing activity might even get turned down. Our experience has shown that in many firms around nine out of ten clients have fewer than ten annuity payments per annum, which may dissuade some business partners.
So instead, many legal firms have decided to work with CPA Global; the only renewals service provider that can manage the complete end to end process for clients both large and small. The firm can choose to retain the annuity payments for some high-value clients if they want, or transfer their renewals work in its entirety.
We have decades of experience in managing patent annuities for thousands of customers worldwide – and have worked with over 100 law firms, in the United States alone, to transfer those responsibilities swiftly, smoothly and without hassle.
Our model is about allowing each party to focus on its core competencies. It’s not just about the visible levels of service, such as telephone support and how clients receive reminders or send instructions, but also ensuring their confidence in our experience behind the scenes.
For example, CPA Global offers a fully audited global agent network to ensure safety of client payments. Our handover process is also project-managed to ensure there is a clear strategy and plan for the transfer, including comprehensive data verification to ensure any errors in client data don’t cause missed payments (or worse still, patent lapses downstream).
Additionally, online tools make it easier still. Our new Renew App, for example, provides everything clients need to manage the end-to-end renewals process.
It all means that the risks can be successfully managed, clients can be certain that they retain their IP, and law firms are freed to focus their time and resources on more important and profitable client work. And the relationships between clients and firm stay just as strong as ever.
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