IP Service Providers, An Underexposed Group

The International Conference “IP Service World“, by the Germany based “Management Circle”, organized its 2nd conference this week in Noordwijkerhout (near Amsterdam). Where most IP conferences target IP trial attorneys, trademark practitioners and patent attorneys, this conference aims to provide companies that deliver software tools, search databases, IP publications and other IP products that support IP maintenance and prosecution, a rare opportunity to showcase their products and provide an overview what the market has to offer.

So no speakers on the latest developments in law, case law, no licensing strategies, competition law issues and the like, just plain products ranging from filing, renewals and annuities software to document and docket management software, search and landscaping tools,  consultancy how to select the best patent attorneys, IP recruitment and automated trademark translation services, as well as, surprise, even a small India based company that grabs the attention with its slogan “Experts in Invalidating Patents”. Rather than presentations on substantive IP law subjects, the IP Service Conference offered, parallel to an Exhibition Platform where service providers can showcase their products,  a range of  round table discussions, lecture panels and plenary speeches, all around IP services. Want to know what software to choose from, how to best manage IT as well as IP, presentations on valuation methods and best practices in patent searches, streamlining IP costs and many more subjects.

So visitors expecting mindboggling IP trends, inspirational speakers on how the IP world will look like in 2050 or anything like it, would be dissapointed.Just lain exhibitors and software and IT presentations.

The first conference on Service Providers was held in Berlin, which was a great success. This week’s conference was somewhat disappointing in that there were more sellers than buyers, and industry was scantly present. Overall the roundtables as well as the plenary sessions were informative but most ended up in sales pitches for service providers which was not quite what people expected to hear. Yet for an IP manager or head of IP department the conference gave a fair overview on what is currently on the market for IP services. Strikingly absent in most exhibition booths was the use of modern graphics or generally tantalizing audiovisual presentations. Most of them provided flyers, displays and posters but very few had actual on-the-spot web based presentations or other digital presentations of their products. IP is a very conservative industry, which was made abundantly clear again at the conference. Industry standard solutions were offered and frequently presented as “novel”, however most were unable to identify which new feature was specific for their product, nor were most exhibitors able to articulate their USP’s where they would differentiate themselves from competition.

Suppliers and exhibitors included

  • Patrafee‘s PatraWin for IP law and patent attorney firms (document processing, invoicing, document storage and management of IP filings etc.)
  • Lexis Nexis, a member of  Reed Elsevier, with its Patent Optimizer, for streamlining patent applications and patent analysis, creating patent landscaping reports as well as patent search tools with intelligent machine translations for Korean patent documentation  Other products include TotalPatent, Global IP Law Service, IP sources at lexis.com, and IP DataDirect-Patents.
  • CPA Global, provides search tools and products like Memotech, Inprotech and Foundation IP, but who, unfortunately, were unable to show us their “Discovery” product
  • RWS Group , providers of specialist IP search, translation and filing services. The RWS Translation Division is the world’s leading patent translation specialist (EuroFile, WorldFile)
  • Questel, with its noteworthy and most popular interface of any Questel product, Orbit
  • Ipendo, now part of CPA Global, with its on-demand IP management solutions in Ipendo Platform allowing automation of administrative tasks
  • Inolyst, the company that attracted our attention on the exhibition floor with its statement “Experts in Invalidating Patents” who makes it look easy to invalidate patents. Unfortunately, a short interview with the booth-holder confirmed our suspicion that it’s not so easy after all

and many more (for an overview of all exhibitors, visit IP Service World