“How much can we get back?”
We often get this question when organizations ask us to analyze their patent annuity or trademark renewal invoices.
We start to really get this question when clients see that they are being charged a 20 or 30 percent currency premium above bank rates.
And with very few exceptions, our answer is nearly always the same. Not much.
Don’t get us wrong; It’s almost always possible to work with your annuity vendor to tighten the currency language in your contract and reduce your costs going forward.
So, you should be able to realize future savings (sometimes substantial), but your chances of getting a refund check from your vendor are pretty small.
After we tell clients this, the next question is, “How do they get away with charging so much?”
The reason is simple. Most patent annuity contracts still allow vendors to charge whatever they want for currency. The same holds for agent fees.
Fortunately, we are seeing changes in the market. It doesn’t hurt that several new annuity vendors have entered the market with a commitment to currency transparency. We also see a lot of clients switching IP Management solutions and using that opportunity to insert currency caps into their new annuity agreements.
Over the last 6 months, we have started to see the impacts of these currency caps. A small but growing number of invoices we audit are now compliant with much tighter currency caps. Even better, when comparing apples to apples, invoices with a currency cap average 5% to 10% less in total cost than invoices with unrestricted currency costs – these clients are paying less.
So, as the end of the year approaches and you begin to plan your budget for 2024, we recommend you check your annuity contract for currency caps.
If you don’t have a cap, it’s time to talk to your vendor. They probably won’t write you a check, but that 5% savings on your 2024 budget could be helpful in these tight times.
Want to check your annuity invoice currency costs?
Check out our free patent annuity self-audit tool