Unlocking the promise of patent renewals

As patent filings grow at unprecedented rates, companies are beginning to realize the strategic importance of patent renewals, unlocking their ‘data power’. A new report from Clarivate™, Global patent renewals trends, leans on enriched patent and IP case data paired with human expertise and technology to analyze patent filing activity. Through the report, law firms and in-house legal teams can gain a better understanding of maintenance behaviors to help unleash annuities’ strategic value and optimize patent portfolios.

Annuities – more than meets the eye

Patents are important IP assets with deep commercial value. Beyond the initial filing and obtaining of a patent, the decision to renew or abandon a patent plays a significant strategic role, especially where patents are critical to business operations.

However, patent renewals are often seen as a primarily administrative or operational aspect of patent enforcement. When organizations view renewals as a mere formality in patent lifecycles, they inadvertently underplay the strategic value of patents.

In contrast, when organizations recognize annuities ‘data power’ they can capitalize on the possibilities of analyzing data derived from worldwide patent renewals and draw intelligence to inform their patent portfolio management.

In our latest special report, Global patent renewals trends, we explore how patent renewals can become strategic devices and act as decision-making points for organizations.

The patent renewal process
The payment of patent maintenance fees, commonly referred to as annuities, allows patent rights to stay in force. It is a subtle but essential mechanism that allows a patent to renew (remain valid) and deliver all the benefits of ownership. In simple terms, it operates like a subscription, except it relies on action by the patent owner. Frequently, renewals are outsourced to service providers who can help to reduce overall costs, administrative burden and navigate the complexities of large and multi-jurisdictional portfolios.


Key annuities trends

After two decades of global patent renewals, we have the technological tools to curate and analyze renewals data and take a global view of patent renewal trends. Through analyzing the life of 70 million patents across five key jurisdictions, our report aims to answer a simple question of what survives.

We focus on those patents remaining in portfolios, removing those that have explicitly lapsed due to the non-payment of fees as indicated in legal status information. By combining grant and abandonment rates, we can better understand the chances that a similar patent or application in each field would survive. In doing so, we can see potential renewal dynamics, helping patent holders make contextualized decisions about their exposure to opportunity risk.

Key findings from our report include:

  • Sectors vary considerably in their abandonment rates: If we consider that even one percentile point can represent thousands of patents and millions of dollars, the sectors’ differences are vast — with the difference between the industry with the highest and lowest abandonment rate at 12%.
  • Life science verticals have longer patent lifecycles: Life science verticals, including medical, biotechnology and pharmaceuticals, have the highest survival rate, with 35% of patents still in force after 20 years.
  • Brand-centric sectors move ‘faster’: Brand-centric fields have some of the lowest patent renewal rates, with less than 25% of patents in the luxury, fashion and sports sectors still in force by year 20.
  • Mainland Chinese filings continue to dominate the global landscape: Looking at the worldwide footprint of filings, Mainland China is overwhelmingly the jurisdiction of choice, with academic and government institutions being the biggest filers.

Transformative patent intelligence enables patent portfolio optimization

Clarivate has one of the most comprehensive IP solution portfolios on the market. By pairing enriched data with analytics and expertly curated insights, we can offer practitioners a more holistic understanding of the patent renewals landscape, giving them clarity to navigate the complex, to anticipate risk and leverage opportunities, optimizing their patent portfolios.

Read the new report: Global patent renewal trends: Unpicking what survives to understand maintenance behaviors better and unleash annuities’ strategic value.