Why aren’t IP lawyers ever more ascendant in legal departments?

In MIT Sloan Mgt. Rev., Spring 2012, at 19, as a co-author the Director of the USPTO states that “intellectual capital and intangible assets – including technology, brands and strategic competencies – comprise more than 50 percent of the business outputs in the U.S. economy.” If so, wouldn’t you expect IP lawyers to become more crucial and therefore more common? I am not aware that the proportion of all law department lawyers accounted for by IP lawyers has risen. Instead, much of what the article refers to as intellectual capital is dealt with by generalist commercial lawyers.

Elsewhere the authors state that the World Intellectual Property Organization estimated in 2008 that there were 6.7 million patents in force around the world. Wow! The average annuity for a patent could be much more than $1,000, but if it were only that much holders of patents would spend nearly $7 billion a year simply keeping those patents current!

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