IP maintenance – a hidden priority

IP strategy is intrinsically linked to business strategy. Likewise, while intangible, IP assets – including patents and trademarks – are indispensable business assets. With so much time, effort and investment required in developing valuable IP, it is vital to make sure these rights are in the safest possible hands for their maintenance and protection. Read more.


What’s the risk?

In 2020, at the USPTO alone, there were a total of 2,605 petitions filed for the reinstatement of unintentionally abandoned patents [Source: USPTO]. That’s more than seven petitions per day. In parallel to these errors, filing of patents and trademarks continues to soar. Despite the turbulent economic landscape, the number of patents in force grew to over 15m worldwide in 2020, with an average 7% annual growth 2016-2019. [Source: WIPO 2020 indicator report] Equally, in 2020, over 13 million trademark applications were filed – roughly a 13% year-over-year growth and a record year, off the back of a record 2019. [Source: Clarivate SAEGIS].

With renewal dates for these new, vast portfolios of IP rights due in the coming years, businesses must anticipate how they plan to safely maintain them.

Across industries, the loss of rights-protected exclusivity is often followed by a dramatic slump in revenue. If those rights were to be lost several years before the actual expiry date, due to an unintentional lapse, those lost years of revenue and protection can be significant.

When rights are lost, the rest of the market can capitalize, stripping away years of innovation and competitive advantage – alongside the revenue associated to those rights.


How do rights lapse?

Often, businesses look to offset risk by choosing a provider for their IP maintenance – but this alone may not always solve the problem. There is significant room for error along the IP maintenance journey if key tasks are overlooked or mismanaged, making the choice of the right vendor critical.

  • Case data errors: Every digit matters. Ensuring that critical case data is accurately managed on internal systems is a fundamental task that cannot be taken lightly. An error as small as a mistaken date or additional digit could lead to an incorrect renewal date calculation and potential lapse.
  • Miscommunication: Maintaining an asset often requires multiple communication channels and instructions between the asset holder, a representing law firm, a 3rd party provider, an international agent and a PTO. An error in these instructions, whether that involves sending to the wrong address or mishandling an action, can easily lead to a missed deadline and a possible loss of rights.
  • Agent risk: Collaboration is at the heart of IP maintenance, and working with local agents is a necessity. Consequently, it’s important to ensure that the agents you work with meet your compliance requirements and can handle large volumes of cases and payments.


What does ‘safe’ look like?

At Clarivate, we work to earn your trust and provide assurance in everything that we do. Our IP maintenance services have been carefully refined over 50 years of experience in managing IP rights globally. We go further than any other provider in ensuring our customers rights are truly protected.

Data verification

We have built a three-layer data verification process, specifically designed to offer the utmost assurance that an error will not occur within our systems. This process includes both automatic data synchronization within our system, as well as manual verification from our dedicated team of IP experts and then again from our agents. We then go a step further with weekly sweeps of our system to verify all new cases.

Unmatched assurance

Each year we handle 3.5 million IP rights and pay nearly $2 billion in payments on behalf of our customers, giving our clients flexibility with their cashflow. We provide an additional layer of assurance by providing the highest levels of liability in the industry, backed by PAMIA – the IP insurance experts. If the worst should happen, our protection continues post-lapse, to prevent your business from substantial damages.

Agent network management

We are proud of our truly global agent network. Where we do not work directly with the PTO, we have built a range of local agent relationships who safely and reliably work with us to maintain our customers rights, every day. Our agent network is carefully managed, and each agent must meet strict criteria to pass a detailed audit. Once onboarded, we have a team of experts, managing 1800+ agents across 270 jurisdictions, to ensure our customers IP is consistently safe into the future.



With over 50 years of experience in providing market leading IP maintenance services and over 12,000 customers across all jurisdictions, Clarivate is a trusted partner time and time again to confidently maintain our customers rights.

We believe in providing our customers with total assurance that their IP rights will always be safely managed and maintained. When considering a partner to support you navigate this complex environment, make it a priority to select one that can be truly trusted to protect these business-critical IP assets.


Learn more about IP maintenance at Clarivate