IP Prosecution Firms - Brace For Impact (part 1)
PROTECTING GLOBAL COMMERCE
Intellectual property refers to creations of the mind - creations which constitute the very foundation of global commerce. With a profoundly short list of possible exceptions everything one sees that isn't naturally occurring or counterfeit has been patented, trademarked or copyrighted on some level. Everything. Without IP we are essentially living in a financial Stone Age where world markets are reduced to holistic flea markets.
According to the National Crime Prevention Council counterfeit and pirated (black market) goods and services costs the U.S. economy more than $250 billion in lost revenue and 750,000 jobs every year. The International Chamber of Commerce Business Action to Stop Counterfeiting and Piracy (BASCAP) initiative's inaugural 2011 IPR Center Threat Report and Survey estimates that intellectual property theft is a $460 to $645 billion business. This same report also cites evidence that sales of counterfeit goods and services can be linked to the subsidization of organized crime and terrorist organizations.
Intellectual Property law practices are both the first and last lines of defense against counterfeiting by procuring and enforcing ownership rights to patents, trademarks and copyrights. They initially arm domestic and international law enforcement in their fight against counterfeit crime with probable cause, then ultimately provide courtroom legal representation to seal the deal.
PROSECUTION vs. LITIGATION
The intellectual property field is comprised primarily of two distinct disciplines: prosecution and litigation. In the war on counterfeit crime prosecution provides law enforcement with their probable cause. This is accomplished through exhaustive research that meticulously traces every nuance of a matter - right down to the paper napkin the original notes were scribbled on - to accurately identify (a) the IP's rightful owner(s), (b) what rights are rightfully owned, and (c) when those ownership rights were legally established. Real gumshoe stuff. Litigation then combines prosecution's findings with law enforcement's evidence to drop the hammer in a court of law.
More concisely, IP prosecution architects the blueprint and engineers the materials that IP litigation uses to build and sell the case. Two very different lines of work possessing two very different modes of operation and expertise requirements.
Once treated like the crazy uncle no one wants to be seen with, intellectual property prosecution and the planetary scope of its commercial influence is fast becoming a media darling. Public releases from both the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics as well as the American Bar Association have let that crazy uncle out of the closet and pushed him into the spotlight.
- According to the May 23, 2012 U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Global Intellectual Property Center (GIPC) state intellectual property (IP) jobs study, IP is responsible for over $5 trillion in national gross domestic product, and 74 % of total U.S. exports.
- Intellectual Property made it to the top of the ABA Law Practice Management's 'What's Hot & What's Not' list as the legal profession's hottest business sector.
- In the recent U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics 'Occupation Outlook Handbook (OOH) 2010-11 Edition' the 'Overview of the 2008-18 Projections' cites technology as the fastest growing sector outside of the health industry, with Services (14%) trailing only Professionals (17%) in projected occupational growth.
- Also according to the OOH 2010-11 "demand for paralegals is expected to grow as an expanding population increasingly requires legal services, especially in areas such as intellectual property, healthcare and international law…"
… and these are just samples.
Prospectors the world over have taken notice and are frantically assembling snazzy IP prosecution services bandwagons in the hopes of grabbing market share. While this scenario might seem amusing at first glance, one cannot help but ponder the significance of what may well result. For in a scheme of things that is as grand as it
gets, there is much to consider.
In this four-part series an array of important challenges confronting the patent, trademark and copyright
prosecution services industry will be explored, as will the potential impact each challenge has on the industry's
law practitioners. Part 2 examines overall concerns with power play entrants in the burgeoning IP prosecution nonlawyer services market.