Top 5 Tips For Spot-Checking Patent Annuity Invoices

Patent Invoice

It’s hard to imagine, but most IP owners we talk to have little to no review process for their invoices, particularly annuity invoices. Everything gets submitted through the legal e-billing system and then – wait for it – gets paid.

Our data shows that organizations with no invoice review process pay more than their peers with some level of review- normally 5 to 10% more.

If you don’t have a process, don’t despair – you don’t need to spend big money or enlist a team of consultants to audit invoices (although you can). You can do a basic audit yourself. To help out, we’ve assembled our top 5 tips for spot-checking patent annuity invoices.

Let’s go!

Tip # 1: Keep It Simple

Patent Annuity Invoices

Your goal should be to spend the minimum possible time searching for a few red flags. Don’t worry about what happens if you find the red flags, and don’t get overwhelmed by the size of your invoice; just keep it simple and get started. You should be able to spot one or two red flags in less than 10 minutes. Once you get experienced at checking invoices, you can expand the scope, but initially, it can be overwhelming. Tips two through five will reinforce this theme of simplicity.

Tip # 2: You Don’t Need To Look At Every Charge

Patent Fee

In a perfect world, you would analyze every patent annuity line item – but that can take days or weeks with a large portfolio. The reality is that you are just looking for red flags (back to keeping it simple); you only need to check a handful of cases. If you find one red flag, we can guarantee you that there are more. If you find two or three red flags across different currencies (see tip #3), we can guarantee that there is much more.

Tip #3: Think in Terms of Currencies, Not Patents

Patent annuity invoices

In most invoices we review, currency charges are the number one source of above-market costs. If you have a large international portfolio, you’ll have several different international jurisdictions, some of which share a common currency for PTO payments. European countries are a prime example of this – and you can take advantage of this to simplify your validation process.

The exchange rate for your French patents will be the same as for your German and Netherlands patents – so you only need to pick a patent or two in one country and you can effectively audit currency costs for all of Europe.

Tip #4: Start Small

IP Cost Estimation and IP Forecaster Updates

The easiest way to quickly validate whether you are being charged too much is to check a couple of cases from jurisdictions where direct payment is possible. This means that your vendor paid the PTO directly and eliminated the middleman. If you are invoiced in the US Dollar, German, and United Kingdom patents are great for auditing. If you are invoiced in Euros, United Kingdom patents and United States patents are good for auditing.

The fees for these jurisdictions are easy to find and you should be able to use a free currency conversion site to determine how much you would have been charged at the bank rate. This will quickly let you know if your vendor is charging a lot for currency.

Tip #5: Just Start

Even looking at just one transaction in your invoice can have a huge impact on your bottom line and can typically be done in less than 5 minutes. Once you have mastered this, looking at 5 or 10 additional transactions isn’t a major stretch. Chances are pretty good that those 5 to 10 transactions will give you a really good understanding of what is going on across your invoice.

Want more of this kind of stuff? Take A Look Here!

Design Fee Updates

March 1 Cost Decrease Coming For Hong Kong Designs

Hong Kong has announced a decrease in design fees to “promote the further development of intellectual property trading,” contingent upon the completion of the proper ...
Read More →
Design Fee Updates

Russia, EP, and OAPI Hague Design fee updates coming

Russia, EP, and OAPI Hague Design Fee Updates Coming Hague Design fees don’t change very often, but this week, we received notification of updates coming ...
Read More →
IP Currency Costs and IP fee updates
Design Fee Updates

IP Currency Costs: More Than a Maintenance Issue

Over the past several years, we’ve seen a significant focus on improving currency cost controls for patent annuities and trademark renewals but comparatively less on ...
Read More →

More To Explore

PHP Code Snippets Powered By :
Prokurio Logo

We've Got a Lot To Share!

Sign up for quick IP-focused updates every Friday.
Prokurio Logo

We need a little info...

Give us some contact info and we’ll email you the program details. No SPAM, no hassles. 
Prokurio Logo

You're All Set!

You should receive a confirmation shortly.
Check your SPAM folder if you don’t see an email.

Let's Do It!

Give us your email if you’d like to try out IP Forecaster. We’ll shoot you a confirmation email and get you setup quickly – check your SPAM folder if you don’t see an email within 10 minutes.

There’s no cost or long-term obligation.