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Money, value & the practising IP lawyer...

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There is no object on this earth with which we have a stranger relationship than money. For much of our history, we traded goods and services in a barter system. It worked really well but it wasn’t exactly convenient. As we spread our wings and travelled further afield, the need to carry 200 chickens to cover your costs was….challenging. 

In perhaps the greatest act of co-operation that humanity has managed to achieve, we created the concept of money. Small pieces of metal or paper that symbolise a specific number of chickens (for example). They fit easily in your pocket and there is a lot less squawking and feathers everywhere. 

But almost the instant we achieved this co-operative innovation, we simultaneously created a conflict around how amazing it is. I dispute the idea that money makes the world go round, innovation does. But it’s difficult to argue that money supports it. 

So how did we get so quickly to the idea that it is a bad thing?  

It seems that money confers freedom and shame in almost equal measure. We need money to keep a roof over our heads, to eat and if not to dress fashionably, then certainly to avoid inappropriate nudity. There is nothing wrong with wanting any of these things, nor any of the things beyond the basics. 

And yet and still, societal views demand that we sit across a table in job interviews afraid to ask about pay, in case the company might think that we want the job for any other reason than our burning desire to introduce people to the joys of cheaper long distance calls for 8 hours per day. 

There are similar roadblocks in the provision of any service, including legal advice. While many lawyers feel the value of the service they provide, there are many others who merely know it. And there is a critical difference between the two. 

It is not unusual for a lawyer to have a set fee for the services they provide but when the crunch comes in conversation with a client, they heavily discount in advance of any client objections. These lawyers rarely even charge the fee their service is worth, never mind receive it. 

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And it is certainly not unusual for law firms to find themselves providing a variety of small, critical but undervalued services to their clients without charge, simply to zealously protect their interests. 

This difficulty is not assisted by the diminished value that clients can sometimes put on creating and protecting their own IP. This is especially prevalent in earlier stage companies who are not yet leveraging established revenue from their innovations.  

As an IP lawyer, you know that without the foundation work, they may well face challenges to creating that established revenue in the way they deserve to. This is why client education in the IP world remains such a persistent topic of conversation. 

It can be a difficult concept to grasp but money and value, whilst often related, are not the same thing. Companies create value with their IP which may or may not translate into money. Or chickens. But the value remains. 

And IP lawyers deliver value too. One hypothesis might suggest that it can be difficult for clients to see the value delivered in routine IP work. After all, there are a lot of tasks, forms and fees involved, few of which deliver to the client an appreciable sense of value. It’s on a par with paying road tax on your car. 

Where it is more easy for them to see value is in the strategic advice provided by an IP lawyer who understands their business. In the successful defence of their brands against infringement. In the healthy increase in their bottom line as a result of the work that you do. It doesn’t make the routine work any less valuable. Just less visible. 

So as Rightly began their journey into transformation in the IP world, that routine work was our focus. We introduced automations to empower IP professionals to work more efficiently in maintaining correct IP record data, handling routine maintenance tasks and managing portfolios across countries. 

This is the core of what we do. Your work day experiences a dramatic reduction in stressful, repetitive, time-consuming work and an equally dramatic increase in your freedom to spend time doing the work that you love and where your clients see the value in what you do. 

Our goal is to bring people together to help the IP world thrive, on both sides of the table. While it might be hard for clients to see your value in routine busy work, it’s challenging for you to feel it too. And when you don’t feel the value of the service you provide, it’s an additional impediment to charging appropriately. 

Ready to feel the value that you can deliver? Get in touch to begin the journey! 

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