When US companies prosecute patents in foreign countries, they typically have to retain specialized patent lawyers in those countries. The charges of those patent lawyers – called foreign associates – can be high, and apparently sometimes higher than what local companies are charged. As reported originally by IP Law & Business, then reprinted by Corp. Counsel, May 2008 at 9, at least two companies make their services available to companies, or their legal or intellectual property departments, to ferret out improper charges.
One company, IPR IS, is based in Basl, Switzerland and the other, PTFM (Patent Trademark Fee Management), is based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Some of their services may be available from companies that license patent and trademark tracking databases (See my post of May 1, 2005: Master Data Center, Dennemeyer and Computer Patent Annuities.).