Wednesday, 2 October 2013

The price of IP advice: is it ever right?

This blogger recently received one of those annoying emails entitled "Three Mistakes That Publishers Make". Mistake number three, the only one mentioned, runs like this:
"MISTAKE #3 Lowering Subscription Rates". 
Presumably MISTAKE #2 is Raising Subscription Rates and MISTAKE #1 is to leave them as they are.

This blogger is reminded of the legal practice of his father, this being a two-partner firm that operated with bargain-basement fee policy.  When the firm was eventually persuaded, against its better judgment, to hike its charge-out rates, it paradoxically prospered. Clients appeared to place a greater value on legal advice for which they paid higher sums, notwithstanding the intensive level of inter-firm competition.

SOLO IP is happy to hear from readers as to what their experiences of pricing their services have been.  Do let us know!


  1. Yes, I think there is a lot of truth in that. Clients often need to be charged a lot for IP services before they believe they have got a good service. Unfortunately I do see their point because often bargain-basement prices correlate with jobs that have not been well done. I think in the UK at least higher prices are the best policy for patent practitioners at least.

  2. You need to have an idea of the market value of your advice. You can then sell at, below or above that. Selling on price just for the sake of it is unlikely to succeed. If the customer can only judge value by price then they inevitably assume that the least costly is provided by the least competent. Therefore the art if offering a reduced price is to allow the client to understand why they are offered that price.

    So for a patent renewal fee I dislike charging much but there is a service involved in paying this tax and ensuring the client makes his mind up in a timely manner. However there is not a lot of expertise involved. There may however be a nasty credit risk. Moreveoer at some point when the case is abandoned you wont be paid anyhting for the last year's service which can involve a significant amount of time and paperwork to avoid insurance claims. So I charge a plumber's rate for my time.

  3. Price/quality is certainly not any kind of decent relationship.

    I think the point is also that if you are expensive the client will do more of the leg work/donkey work.

    If you are cheaper they wont, and they wont thank you for doing it either - they will in fact mentally punish you for it.