|Rain or Thunder?|
For in house counsel, in Africa and abroad, there are considerably more options for efficient IP management. For IP attorneys, the landscape is changing - tech savvy silicon valley firms have turned the filing market on its head in the States (and that trend will spillover into other jurisdictions as registry offices go online), there is now formidable competition from non legal service providers and there is worldwide competition for certain areas of IP management, especially from India. In short he feels that whilst there is good growth in IP filings worldwide, making IP business a healthy place to be, the nature of the business is changing. The increasing attractiveness of cloud computing is likely to accelerate the changes.
Collaborative IP management is not an entirely new phenomenon to the way in which IP is managed. Afro Leo is aware of at least one external service provider that has used this type of thinking to sell it services but its database has been very expensive and the reports he has received have been lukewarm eg difficulties training and co-ordinating local lawyers and overcoming a resistance to the way in which those lawyers have, for decades, done their work. These drawbacks will continue but one feels that as cloud computing catches on, as we see a new era of students come into the workplace (whose education is based on collaborative learning), as costs decrease due to fierce competition amongst cloud service providers and as forward thinking firms respond or industry demands, the shift seems inevitable.