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The Portfolio Estimator - Patents: A Case Study


Published on 29 March 2017

The Company

Chevron Phillips (referred to as "client" hereinafter) is a 50/50 joint venture between Chevron and Phillips 66. The Texas-headquartered client possesses a varied product portfolio and is "one of the world's top producers of olefins and polyolefins and a leading supplier of aromatics, alpha olefins, styrenics, specialty chemicals, piping, and proprietary plastics."

The Challenges

The major challenge the client was facing was the inability to estimate patent costs with precision and efficiency (the client forecasts its budgets four years in advance). There are many different business units within the client, each with its own unique needs and filing patterns. For instance, one business division may file new patent applications every year, while another may file a patent application every five years.

Further, the estimation of foreign portfolio costs was complicated by the two different systems of annuities i.e. pre-grant annuities and annuities accumulated until grant. The latter need not be paid until the patent is granted, which may occur within four years, or take a much longer time. There was also a need to factor in exchange rates and possible rate increases over time.

Existing Systems

The client forged partnerships with domestic and foreign law firms (these firms are referred to as "LP" or legal partnering firms). The LP's offer their services to the client at a capped-fee structure. Further, the client developed an Excel spreadsheet that contained average data from its electronic invoicing system and its docketing system. These approaches facilitated in reducing the budget projection to within 10% of the actual spend.

The Solution

Quantify IP's Portfolio Estimator has played a key role in reducing the budget projection to within 1% of the actual spend. Not only has the Portfolio Estimator meshed with the client's current system, thereby enabling the client to estimate costs with a very high degree of accuracy over the lifecycle of its entire portfolio across the globe (both pending patent applications and granted patents), but it has also allowed the client to make assumptions about how many applications it is going to file every year and forecast the future costs for the yet-to-be filed applications.

Through free and frequent updates to its substantial database that is based on extensive research, the Portfolio Estimator has also taken care of the client's varied concerns, such as fluctuation in exchange rates and possible rate increases over time. Further, the tool's ‘time-to-grant' feature has allowed the client to approximate when the accumulated annuity costs may be incurred.

Conclusion

The Portfolio Estimator takes the guesswork out of patent portfolio cost estimation, thus paving the way for accurate budget forecasting and strategic decision making.


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