There are many challenges around handling patent annuities payments, both for corporate IP teams and for IP law firms.
For corporate IP owners, processing patent annuities in-house means managing an international network of agents and that comes with risks. Managing through outside counsel is expensive. Using an annuity service provider is the default option but some give little visibility into cost structures. It is hard to track the frequent adjustments and fees are often hidden or higher than anticipated, making budgeting difficult.
Anaqua’s annuity and renewal services provide transparent pricing and a process that avoids post-payment adjustments so you can clearly see costs by matter and country. ANAQUA Services are integrated with the ANAQUA IAM solution for fast and easy export of renewal instructions and automated import of payment data, with integrated reporting by patent, family or portfolio.
On the law firm side, firms are under pressure from their insurers to exit this low-margin, high-risk business and are pushing many of their clients to annuity service providers. But many clients are poorly equipped to adapt to this change, resulting in considerable resistance. Inventors with small portfolios are likely to hold out the longest. These smaller clients require more hand holding in the early phases of the transition, and can be vulnerable to annuities providers who overcharge.
Firms and corporate teams who wish to exit annuities management cleanly without alienating their clients or being exposed to predatory practices need a strategic approach. The strategy needs to start with selecting a trusted partner who is transparent, flexible, and fully committed to a carefully arranged transition project. There are best practices for transitioning the portfolio, maintaining awareness of the data feed, and communicating intentions to clients and staff.
Anaqua has a structured and tested annuities transition approach. Our annuity services present an efficient yet flexible process for client communications, invoicing, payments and reporting. The standard procedures can be tailored to client needs in a paperless environment. Clients have secure online access to their portfolio data, including full lifecycle payments and invoices.