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Patent Search & Analytics

Insourcing vs Outsourcing for IP-Focused Organizations

IP research is an essential business function for any innovative organization. Understanding how your existing intellectual property and ongoing R&D fit into the technological landscape is inherent to your business strategy and freedom to operate. Finding relevant prior art and deriving critical insights from it is paramount. But what’s the best way to ensure your IP research workflows fit your organization? Careful consideration of insourcing vs outsourcing is an opportunity for strategic decision making. The right mix of in-house and external resources allows for cost and IP management improvements.

What is insourcing?

Insourcing uses dedicated in-house employees for IP research. This may be existing talent or new employees hired specifically to support R&D and IP teams. Depending on the organization, insourcing could require a single team member or an entire team.

The Advantages of Insourcing

At the top of the list of insourcing benefits is the ability to control so much of the process. When in-house resources (properly equipped with an innovation workflow solution) manage IP research, your organization has absolute control over quality, communication, and confidentiality. For risk-averse entities, this may be especially important. It’s likely that an internal team also has deep product and industry knowledge that allows for highly relevant insights.

Insourcing can potentially offer cost savings, depending on a number of factors, including the volume of IP research necessary on a regular basis and the value offered by your patent search tool. If you have dedicated employee(s) and a user-friendly software solution in place, IP research can be completed more quickly in-house.

  • Control, including confidentiality
  • Product and industry knowledge
  • Cost efficiencies
  • Speed of results

IP.com’s innovation workflow solution, including InnovationQ+™ and IQ Ideas+™, offers organizations the comprehensive data and AI-backed insights they need to insource IP research and decision-making. Incorporating user-friendly, patent-trained AI into in-house research can reduce the time it takes to complete a non-patent literature search from 10 hours to two!

Screenshot of HD Analyze mode

For example, HD-Analyze mode enhances the discovery and assessment of competitive technologies and the companies that own them, delivering instant market intelligence.

What is outsourcing?

Outsourcing places the responsibility of IP research with external specialists, rather than an internal employee or team. The patent consulting industry is flourishing and is expected to grow from $900 million to $2.1 billion by the end of the decade.

The Advantages of Outsourcing

Choosing to rely on a professional partner for IP research gives you access to a wealth of searching expertise. The more than 36,000 patents handled by the top 10 patent firms in 2021 saw an average of 1.6 office actions. Utility patents, in general, see about 4.2 office actions. The cost and time savings of fewer office actions illustrate the value of a professional. Some organizations are simply not built to do IP research themselves. Outsourcing allows you to focus on core competencies rather than delivering lower-quality results with an in-house team. While insourcing can generally provide more immediate results, the expertise and efficiency of IP consultants and search firms facilitate predictable turnaround times.

IP consultants often compile search results and insights into a presentation-ready format. These visualizations tell a story that can help teams communicate with the C-suite. Lastly, outsourcing partners do not have the same volume limitations as in-house teams. You can easily increase or decrease the amount of IP research you require of your consultants—without bandwidth or overhead concerns.

  • Expertise and efficiency
  • Presentable output
  • Scalability

As an outsourcing partner, IP.com provides businesses with a comprehensive set of analytic reports that captures the value and validity of a technology, patent, or portfolio. Our team of experienced industry professionals also performs freedom to operate, patentability, and landscape research as part of an all-encompassing suite of services.

Is insourcing or outsourcing best for me?

There are many factors that can help your organization determine the best solution for research workflows. These include:

  • The size of your patent portfolio now and in the future, with consideration of patenting frequency.
  • Your budget.
  • How quickly you need to uncover insights, now and in the future.
  • Your organization’s maturity and growth projections.
  • How your organization is structured and your internal capacity.

Many companies use a combination of insourcing and outsourcing to meet their IP research needs. This mix can change over time; outsourcing may offer the fastest, most cost-effective solution for small businesses looking for a few searches. However, entities with larger patent portfolios and/or active R&D teams will likely benefit from insourcing with an AI-powered software solution. Companies may choose to outsource in the short term while scaling up an in-house team—or vice versa.

Choosing a partner that supports both insourcing and outsourcing, like IP.com, allows for data continuity between the research completed in-house and externally. This end-to-end solution gives businesses flexibility and the ability to choose the best option for their workflow and goals.

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