Microsoft was among the top ten leading US patent recipients in 2018 with 2,353 patents. The company has an R&D budget of more than $11 billion. Its ever-growing worldwide portfolio holds more than 350,000 issued patents and Microsoft is consistently ranked as one of the most highly-valued brand portfolios in the world.

Suffering from success

Microsoft’s Intellectual Property Group (IPG) is a team of 200 engineers, attorneys, paralegals, programme managers and operations professionals. While long regarded as the gold standard for corporate IP organisations, Microsoft’s growing IP portfolio resulted in more work and patents than the team could manage in-house. Like other IP teams across the globe, Microsoft increasingly turned to external service providers to manage the work load.

Yet using different, competing vendors culminates in inconsistent processes and outcomes. One vendor might handle proofreading, another annuities and another docketing or invoicing. Creating a cohesive IP portfolio in this environment is challenging. It can slow down in-house teams and create more problems than it solves.

The technology trade-off

When Microsoft partnered with our IP team, we helped improve IP efficiency, reduced overall spend on IP services and enabled Microsoft to conduct four times the previous volume of work. We also took over Microsoft’s Information Disclosure Statements (IDS) management – handling more than 894,000 references to build out the reference library. Automating Microsoft’s IP processes decreased law firm expenditures and saved an estimated $1.6 million in just one year.

Choosing the right IPMS is a key step to remaining competitive in an increasingly crowded industry. Microsoft’s IPG can now focus on fostering innovation and seeking new, creative strategies. The technology giant already gained one position in the global ranking this year – rising from eighth to seventh place. Microsoft continues to rely on our support while using the recordal team to assist during large projects, helping better position the company for innovation in the 21st century.

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