Posted on Monday 29 August 2016 by Cruickshank Intellectual Property

We have already seen that big is not always better in terms of cost or service when it comes to choosing an overseas patent agency. However, in what ways does the level of expertise differ at a smaller firm when compared with a bigger organisation, such as a multi-national?


Not every specialist is equal

Most firms will recruit specialists from a number of sectors to optimise service delivery. The larger scale ones will undoubtedly have more team members from each area, whether that is research, industry or perhaps a scientific discipline. However, smaller firms will take a lot more care when hiring experts from each sector in order to maximise coverage.

The result being, while the smaller firm hires fewer staff, the professionals they do recruit tend to come with a lot more collective experience and knowledge. This often comes at a higher cost per hire to the firm, but since the quality is greater, the firm gets more return on its investment. In turn, this leads to the client getting a higher level of expertise. With a bigger company, this level of expertise tends to be diluted across the company.


A question of accountability

Fewer, more experienced attorneys working on projects also means more accountability. In many cases, a smaller firm will have a single specialist dedicated to your project. As a result, this individual is likely to be more committed to succeeding on your behalf to prove their ability, justify their salary expectations and secure their future prospects within the agency.

In general, smaller agencies have their reputation to consider and will be reluctant to take on client cases that they do not have the expertise to service effectively.


Does your attorney really understand your needs?

Of course, simply having expertise in a specialist area is only part of the solution when comes to filing a successful application. Equally important is the agency’s capacity for getting to know the client, understanding their business and objectives. With a smaller team, this becomes much easier. In fact, you may only have one dedicated specialist or point of contact whose role it is to look after all your filings. Along with this comes an in-depth understanding of your organisation and strategic goals.

It is also worth pointing out that employees at smaller firms tend to stay on for longer, meaning less disruption to projects due to staff turnover.

When it comes to expertise, the old saying, ‘too many cooks spoil the broth’ can apply to the world of patent filing too.