Profiling the client-law firm network

Given the complexity of managing global portfolios while engaging in transactional and brand protection work, the need to work with trusted advisers has never been greater. In many instances, budgetary pressure and the need to tap into different types of expertise on a global basis mean that law firm networks become more critical.

Last year, we reported that respondents were significantly more likely to look for outside support in 2018 than the previous year, with 31% of in-house respondents predicting an increase in the level of work that they expected to send to external counsel in the future. That prediction came to pass, with 35% sending out more work over the past year. Further, almost half (49.5%) predict that trend to continue in the coming 12 months. What is clear is that for law firms able to offer strategic services, the work will continue to be there.

As to expertise being utilised by trademark teams, for the first time this year we sought to ascertain the size of global networks. In terms of agents, one-fifth boasted of having between 100 and 249 in their network, with 17.2% relying on between 75 and 99 in total. This reflects the nature of the corporate world, with brands now required to ‘think global’, even if they are not doing business in every country.

Of course, global footprint also means global infringement and this is reflected in the number of firms that brands are engaging to undertake enforcement work. A quarter of respondents currently work with more than 50 law firms on such activities an indicator of the scale of infringement faced by corporate entities.

Globally, how many agents are part of your company’s trademark network?

In the past 12 months, has the amount of work that your trademark department sends to external counsel changed?

In the next 12 months, do you anticipate the level of work that you send to external counsel to change?

Are the rates and fees that you pay to outsourced agents benchmarked?

When it comes to trademark enforcement, how many firms do you work with?

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