In an ever-increasing corporatised market, MBIP remains privately owned, giving us the freedom, flexibility and independence to fully commit to our clients’ best interest.
As a consequence of amendments to the Patents Act in 2013, the last two years have seen, several large Australian patent attorney firms (with a combined market share of close to 70%) listing on the stock exchange or acquired by publicly listed companies. Some of these publicly listed companies own up to four large firms in Australia and beyond. Eight out of the top ten patent filing firms responsible for filing and prosecuting Australian patent applications for overseas applicants are now owned by three publicly listed companies*.
We have seen instances where a patent applicant is represented by an IP firm that is owned by a publicly listed holding company, with the main competitor of the patent applicant also represented by a firm of the same holding company. Our direct experience is that the local clients and overseas patent attorney firms who typically instruct these Australian firms are often unaware of these relationships.
The Trans-Tasman IP Attorneys Board (‘the Board’), which is the regulatory body responsible for regulating patent attorneys in Australia and New Zealand, is currently examining the conflict issues.
Beaton Research and Consulting conducted a survey earlier this year to investigate how users of IP services including overseas patent attorney firms view public ownership of Australia’s IP firms, and their perceptions of its effect on service, quality, value, and price. Nearly 80% of the survey respondents either agreed or strongly agreed that a reduction in the number of privately owned firms is against clients’ interests, while only 2% disagreed or strongly disagreed. Two thirds believe (i.e. either agreed or strongly agreed) that firms owned by ASX-listed companies must put the interests of shareholders above the interests of clients. Only 5% perceive that public ownership is beneficial because it makes an IP firm stronger.
Our ability to focus solely on our clients needs is one factor in MBIP’s remarkable growth in the last year.
A little over twelve months ago, we were pleased to welcome Andy Mukherji, a registered Australian Patent Attorney, to MBIP. Andy holds a PhD in Chemical Engineering and has a Bachelor of Science in physics. Andy’s arrival has allowed us to significantly broaden our client base to include chemical technologies such as water and wastewater treatment, materials, science, food processing, mining, metallurgy and ore processing.
More recently, Mark Smith, a highly experienced Australian Patent Attorney and a past partner of Pizzeys also joined MBIP. Mark holds degrees in electrical engineering and computer science and was a partner at one of Australia’s largest Patent Attorney firms. Mark has also held in-house roles and worked as a Senior Examiner at IP Australia.
MBIP’s Trade Marks department has also undergone significant growth, headed by Geraldine Rimmer. Geraldine has been working in the trademark field since 2001 and is currently the Chair of the Queensland Law Society’s Technology and Intellectual Property Committee.
Our paralegal team has also been bolstered by the arrival of Carolyn Ralph and Courtney Wratten who have combined experience of over 20 years at some of Australia’s largest patent and trademark attorney firms.
MBIP’s growing team will ensure that all our clients continue to achieve the highest level of service to help our clients at all times.
*IPH Limited owns Spruson & Ferguson, Fisher Adams Kelly Callinans, Cullens and Pizzeys
Xenith IP owns Shelston IP, Watermark and Griffith Hack.
Qantm IP owns Davies Collison and Cave (DCC) and FPA (formerly Freehills Patent Attorneys)