Percentage of intellectual property (IP) work that is outsourced overseas by US law departments

InsideCounsel polled its readers and 192 responded, of which about a third were general counsel or deputy general counsel. According to InsideCounsel, Oct. 2007 at 64, the median 2006 revenue of the respondents’ companies was $2.3 billion and they typically had one or two IP attorneys. Hence, senior lawyers in large measure from big companies that have IP lawyers offered their views.

One question asked “What percentage of your IP work is outsourced overseas?” Somewhat more than half answered zero (57.8%), which means that the rest, almost half the group, have turned to offshore providers for services related to trademarks, copyright or patents. More precisely, about a fifth said 1-10 percent of their work goes offshore (21.9%); some ship off 11-25 percent of it (10.9%); some offshore 26-50 percent (5.5%), and a handful do so with more than 50 percent of their IP work (3.9%).

As with most metrics, I am grateful to have these, yet disappointed the data doesn’t go deeper, such as to separate patent from trademark work, or to explain what activities are offshored. Even so, the point to take away is that the use of offshore assistance in the IP area is reasonably widespread, and I believe certain to grow (See my posts of Jan. 28, 2007 with an overview of the offshore market; and June 11, 2007 #3 with an excellent resource.).

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