Patent Application in Inflationary Times 2022

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Inflation has become an urgent short-term consideration for almost all companies around the world in the year 2022. The USA’s annual inflation reached 9.1% in June 2022, the highest level in more than 40 years. Consumer prices soared 9.1 percent compared with a year earlier.  

Table of Contents

Introduction  

The recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic devastation has caused a slowdown in the world economy which impacted the filing of the patent application as well.  A decline in global patenting activity was observed in Q2’22, primarily as a result of a decline in patent applications granted from China, the largest contributor. With its emphasis on artificial intelligence, 5G, and industrial automation, the US saw an increase in both files and grants in the year 2022. 

 The traditional response to inflation is to choose one of three unappealing options, which include price raise, smaller profit margin, and reduced cost.  Managers can irritate their customers by raising prices, irritate their investors by reducing profit margins, or irritate almost everyone by cutting corners to save money. When faced with this trilemma, most managers resort to raising their prices and then looking for ways to mitigate the ensuing scenario. 

 Nobody knows how long the current inflationary wave will last, but a poll of economists conducted in the summer of 2021 suggested that the current trend could last for years. More recently, the Federal Reserve of the United States suggested that the current wave of inflation may not be as “transitory” as previously thought. 

Global Patent Filing  

In the second quarter (Q2) of 2022, global patent filings decreased by over 14% year over year (YoY), reaching over 771,000 as revealed by GlobalData. The steep 46% drop in a patent granted to 1143,000 was also caused by increased scrutiny during the official review procedure.  

Leading patent filers Samsung, Huawei, and LG have experienced a considerable drop in activity. For instance, Samsung was only able to register a 1% growth in Q2 2022 after seeing a 41% gain in Q1 2021. Similar drops were observed in the quarter for LG (1% to -6%) and Huawei (32% to 5%). 

The slowdown in the world economy brought on by the COVID-19 epidemic can be attributed to the reduction in the top filers’ patenting activity. As a result, businesses can find it challenging to submit patent applications and pay maintenance fees. 

Patent Application in Inflationary Times 2022

The US, European (EP), and British (GB) patent office’s made the most contributions to patent filings. For instance, Asian businesses like Samsung, LG, and Huawei were the top filers at both patent offices, and the majority of the patents filed in the US and Artificial intelligence, industrial automation, and digitization are EP topics (AI). With IBM, Halliburton, and Dyson among the top filers, the majority of the patents submitted to the GB patent office were related to artificial intelligence (AI), industrial automation, and climate change. 

Due to the invasion of Ukraine by Russia, geopolitical tensions have increased worldwide which ultimately has an impact on patent applications. Future trends in patent filing may also be impacted by fresh changes and fee revisions from different patent offices. 

The country’s patent filing activity, for instance, may be impacted by modifications to the South Korean Patent Act, such as the new separation application system, extension of the deadline for appealing a final rejection, simplification of the priority claim process for divisional applications, and easing of the standards for the restoration of patent rights. 

Work-Around  

Outsourcing 

Many law firms are learning about offshore outsourcing, a strategy long used by tech giants. Outsourcing refers to the process of obtaining a few services from a third party outside your organization. An organization, no matter what the size, is never competent enough to have all skills, and specialization of activities in-house. To have competitively improved business performance, an organization hires skilled professionals, remote teams, and freelancers to get tasks accomplished. 

 Leading tech companies have long outsourced work to India, mainly back-office and software development tasks, including Microsoft, Cisco, Amazon, Google, and IBM. The cost of software developers in the US is three times higher than that of software developers in India, but these top companies have discovered that outsourcing can be done successfully without lowering the quality of their output. 

Additionally, outsourcing has the benefit of being very adaptable. It is much simpler to entrust an outsourcing partner with the task of ramping up or down as business volume changes than it is to hire or fire internal staff. 

 One of the most important tasks in drafting a patent specification is drafting the drawings. In general, drawings showing the systems and flow charts involved in software inventions are relatively easy and quick to produce. However, creating drawings that need to show equipment, devices, and pieces of physical equipment is often time-consuming and requires skills comparable to using more advanced sketching/drawing tools.  

Requisite of patent illustration is as follows:  

  • Excellent working knowledge of the tools used for preparing patent drawings 
  • The illustrators should preferably be engineers, as such illustrators are generally familiar with the technology for which drawings have to be prepared 
  • Good understanding of USPTO and PCT guidelines for patent drawings 
  • Good understanding of how drawings will be referred to in the detailed description  

 Among patent attorneys, it is common to entrust the creation of patent drawings to a specialized law firm because it takes time and effort to create patent drawings. Given the skill required to create a patent illustration and the effort required for such a task, patent illustration creation is usually outsourced. 

Conclusion

Inflation is a challenge for all businesses, including patent firms. Price increases, margin cuts, and quality sacrifices are all unacceptable for a variety of reasons. Outsourcing is a great way to reduce costs without sacrificing quality and allows companies to avoid or minimize price increases. 

Outsourcing is a boon to lawyers and law firms to tackle difficult and time-consuming projects on a reasonable budget. Solo professionals and small businesses grapple with situations that may be too big to handle. Outsourcing allows lawyers and law firms to cut spending by paying discounted prices for outsourced legal services. Helps you manage better. Companies using legal outsourcing have found it beneficial as it discourages them from hiring full-time employees. 

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