The traditional methods of managing renewals are labor-intensive and relatively high-risk. In order to manage your renewals in-house, it is necessary to have several different elements in place.
First, you need a comprehensive database of your IP assets with up-to-date information on when all the renewals are due. Second, you need a network of agents who are able to undertake work for you in the relevant jurisdictions. Third, you need to know the official fees in each jurisdiction in which you operate, and monitor for any changes to ensure you’re not overpaying your agents. Finally, you need dedicated internal resources to manage the renewals process. With a large portfolio, this may involve several full-time staff members.
Even with all those things in place, your renewals process is not without risk. That’s because, at every stage of the process, you’re reliant on individual human decisions and intelligence. With the right people in place, that need not be too much of a worry, but there are potential weak points, not least that the institutional knowledge of your renewals is likely to be concentrated in a small number of people, as will the relationships with your agents. So managing IP renewals becomes more difficult than it needs to be.
Why you should choose a platform to renew your trademarks
If you choose to use a dedicated platform to manage your renewals you remove many of these risks from the process. For example, much of the work carried out with a renewals platform is automated. So renewal dates, for example, become a matter of having the right information in the system to being with. Once you know your data is correct, deadlines should take care of themselves.
There is also the question of agents. Brandstock, for example, has its own dedicated network of preferred agents which you can plug your portfolio into. This removes a large amount of administrative work from your internal processes, and also ensures that you’re always getting competitive rates, since Brandstock constantly monitors agent performance and cost to ensure it’s working efficiently.
However, a renewals platform does not stop you using your own preferred agents if you have good relationships with them, for example. In this instance, you merely pass the management of the existing agent network over to the service provider, who will then be managing IP for you in a way that enhances your success while maintaining your important supplier relationships.
Perhaps one of the key things you gain from using a dedicated platform for managing IP renewals is cost transparency. A renewals provider should break down every single cost in the process for you, so you can benchmark against your previous working arrangements and see where you’re making savings. This also means that you’ll easily be able to distinguish between the costs of official fees and agents, ensuring you won’t be overcharged.
What can you do with a trademark renewal platform?
All of this information is available through a single online portal, and you should only have to deal with one management contact at your provider, removing administrative ambiguity and making it easier for you to check progress at your convenience.
One of the other major advantages of using a dedicated platform to manage your renewals is the ability to save on currency exchange. As a single trademark owner, it is likely that you face substantial foreign exchange charges when conducting business in multiple jurisdictions. An external renewals platform can help with this, and not just because the high volume of instructions allows the provider to negotiate volume discounts with an agent network, but also because some, like Brandstock, treat agent and official fees as disbursements. So they only pass on the costs at the moment when the disbursements are settled.
Engaging a dedicated renewals platform for managing IP is easy. You get in touch with your provider, let them have oversight of your trademark portfolio, assess whether you want to continue using your agent network for renewals or gain the benefit of theirs, and give the green light. That’s it. As a means of ensuring successful renewals, it is straightforward. And the savings in cost and internal resources that come with it will further enhance the value. The question is not whether you should use a renewals platform. It’s why wouldn’t you?