During the last year, we have witnessed the IP and legal sectors evolve in response to the seismic shift caused by the global COVID-19 pandemic. New practices have been honed, allowing for new paths for industry innovation to develop, and in turn, create new opportunities for burgeoning talent.
From our key market analysis, as well as the insights we have gleaned from our clients and candidates, here are our market observations and predictions for 2022:
Christopher Adamson, Managing Partner, and Practice Head – IP Litigation
The Intellectual Property market in France has seen an increased demand for Patent Attorneys in 2021, with every likelihood of this trend continuing in 2022. We have seen particular requirement for Mechanical, Electrical and Electronics technical backgrounds, as well as growing need for attorneys with a profile in IT/Software and Chemistry, Pharma and Life Sciences. One other notable development in 2021 has been an interest shown by private practice firms in attaining multi-disciplinary status (‘statut pluri-professionel’), creating a combined prosecution and litigation practice of Patent Attorneys and Lawyers (‘Avocats’), with one firm in particular (Bardehle Pagenberg) capitalising on such an opportunity to launch a Pharma and Life Sciences patent prosecution practice.
This growth, together with an increasing trend of Patent Attorneys making the move from private practice to industry, has led to a marked increase in salaries in France. Into 2022, we expect to see this upward curve maintained as France begins to compete more closely in this regard with other key European jurisdictions such as the UK and Germany.
Peter Heuschen, Legal Director EMEA
The competition for junior to mid-level talent in law firms and in-house legal functions will continue into 2022. However, it remains to be seen which impact the increasing salaries of law firm associates will have on the in-house market: How do clients feel about ‘picking up the bill’? Will associates require similar compensation to consider a move in-house?
Despite heated discussions about a return to the office, we expect most lawyers will continue to work from home, with many corporates and law firms working on policies and clear plans to reduce their office square footage. Gradually, we will witness a shift from the office as a place of work to a meeting place. Also, those employers who do not show a level of flexibility will struggle to attract talent.
Into 2022, General Counsels and their legal functions might have a real chance to become the lynchpin to coordinating and driving the Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) agenda. Consequently, the rise of ESG is an opportunity for General Counsels to emphasise and strengthen their role as strategic business partners.
Rene Chung, Partner and Practice Head – IP Licensing & Monetisation
Intellectual Property is increasingly recognised and leveraged as a capital asset, providing not only competitive advantage but also lucrative income streams for businesses. Although larger businesses have traditionally been ahead of the curve when it comes to exploring these avenues, smaller companies, as well as academic institutions and research functions, are now making considerable investment and building strategies around IP licensing and commercialisation.
I’m continuing to see a high demand for investment in IP for the Life Sciences and Biotech areas across European geographies including the UK, Benelux, and Germany. There is a continued need for new medical therapies, as well as COVID-19 treatments and vaccines, which has caused these industries to accelerate their innovation and a need for top talent to create and license them.
Milli Bouri, Partner and Practice Head – M&A Transactions
IP law firm structures and practices are evolving, and I expect these to take shape in 2022. The M&A market has grown by nearly $1 trillion in 2021, and IP and legal practices will take advantage of this as a means to grow their business quickly and effectively. Although I’ve observed mergers and acquisitions in larger firms, I have also seen many small to medium-sized practices look to “team-up” to contend in an ever-competitive market.
I’ve also seen IP firms look to update their practice from clear specialisms to a multi-disciplinary, 360 offering. Firms are expanding their practices to provide a ‘one-stop shop’ of services including, litigation, prosecution, patent services for their clients, with examples seen in Lewis Silkin in the UK and Bardehle Pagenberg in France.
Julian Adamson, Managing Partner, Germany
The Intellectual Property market in Germany has fully embraced hybridised and remote working practices over the last 18 months in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. IP firms have recognised that hybrid and remote working practices foster productivity, as opposed to detracting from it, and with increased digitisation this has helped localised IP firms compete with international firms with offices in Germany. From a recruitment perspective, I’m observing the new and attractive working propositions offered to candidates, attracting top talent locally and internationally to Germany.
In terms of specific industries, Biotech in Germany is flourishing, and I can see this continuing into 2022. There is high demand for IP personnel, as well as patent attorneys, with Biology, Pharma, and Chemistry skillsets.
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