To Startups: 3 Lessons From Corporates on IP Management

Would you like to get the best possible IP services for the lowest possible budget?

Here are 3 strategies that we use at Pekama to get more for less. We learned these strategies from the way large corporations operate and we apply them to small companies.

1. Increase your buying power – one thing we found out from many conversations with IP owners and lawyers at all sizes is that small IP owners are paying up to 2 times more for drafting work and up to 4 times more for paralegal work than large corporations. This does not mean that large corporations don’t get the best people to work on their cases. On the contrary. Large corporations also work almost exclusively with senior partners and with the most experienced staff that IP firms have to offer.

Large corporations achieve this by playing their strong negotiating hand – they can offer a guaranteed flow of work and certainty of revenue for the IP firm and successfully demand great service and lower prices in return.

At Pekama, we help both IP attorneys and IP owners get more IP services for less. We do that by combining the power of many IP owners and negotiating on behalf of all of them. We facilitate the filings of hundreds of applications a year, and as a result, we are in a position to agree better fees and a great standard of service with the firms that we work with.

2. Stay desirable – In services, just like in any relationship, things start going South when one side of the relationship is taken for granted. Yet, this is exactly what happens in many service relationships where the firms feel that they have the eternal and unconditional loyalty of their clients. IP firms are clever businesses and they assign the best practitioners and paralegals to win the most lucrative clients. Everyone else will often experience their service level trickling down and their prices sliding upwards simultaneously.

Even a very good service relationship benefits from being checked, compared and examined on a regular basis. Indeed, it is hard for companies to do this for something as complicated as IP but at Pekama, we do it very effectively for companies. Some of our members only use us for comparing prices for each action and asking questions, and we see that the immediate result of asking questions alone is better service from their providers. Ever compared your renewal premium of your car insurance to the one coming from the likes of GoCompare from the exact same company? The latter is always less expensive even though GoCompare take their share. This is because comparing and asking reminds the firm that they need to make an effort to keep you, not just to win you.

3. Ask questions – IP is process-oriented so it is easy to let it fall into the default mode of “never rush the patents” or “always use PCT”.

Good IP attorneys excel in providing great advice on these matters but to provide good advice they need to pay attention and attention tends to be diverted to the clients who are proactive in raising the questions. Even companies that have no IP experience get better service when they dig in and try to understand. At Pekama, we get companies in the mode of thinking, challenging and asking questions about IP. The result is that their IP firms get in the mode of considering, thinking and advising – and that is how better service is achieved.

Zeev is the founder and CEO of Pekama, a tech company that builds tools to improve the management of IP. Pekama offers different service layers to IP owners, ranging from almost-free services of checking each price quoted, through keeping a portal of all of the company’s IP and up to the full management of portfolios before an in-house attorney kicks in.

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Zeev Fisher

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