Conclusion: a huge opportunity for first movers

  • IP service providers will become more like business advisers
  • Service providers will have to respond imaginatively as competition increases and prices come down
  • Providers will also have to invest more in protecting their own intellectual property

Over the next few years, IP service providers will become more like business advisers. Using the new tools that will become available, some will expand into neighbouring areas or new markets, including brand creation and advertising. Others will leverage the strength that consolidation will bring to invest in new services or geographical markets.

As technology changes, so will business models. Corporate budgets are being cut in many cases, as explored in our report on in-house trademark departments. That puts pressure on service providers, particularly as competition increases and prices come down. They will have to respond imaginatively. One executive predicts that more services will be provided by annual subscription, for example: “We can learn a lot from the Software As A Service (SaaS) model.” Fittingly, perhaps, IP providers will also have to invest more in protecting their own intellectual property – whether patented inventions, data, copyright, trade secrets or brands – to build and maintain a competitive advantage.

On one hand, some may find that the route they go down has some unpleasant short-term consequences, such as cutting them off from law firm clients or devaluing existing services. On the other hand, as one says, there will be a “huge opportunity for first movers”. The resources – in terms of data, people and opportunities – are there. The challenge is what you make of them.

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