In the last decade, outsourcing has witnessed a number of peaks and valleys beginning with a big boom in software outsourcing that was closely followed by an increase in business and legal process outsourcing. Industry experts have predicted the outsourcing industry, which at one point was potentially worth US$2.2 billion, will continue to see rapid growth.
The economic slowdown has, however, posed some challenges to this growth trajectory. As far as intellectual property (IP) is concerned, the focus of outsourcing has returned to easy low-risk IP functions in the whole chain of patenting activity. Demand of offshore functions from jurisdictions other than US and EU has nevertheless increased, suggesting that the industry will bounce back with vigour.
The recession has led to severe cost-cutting measures which create the need for process realignment and re-engineering internally in companies with sizeable IP portfolios. An interesting aspect of process realignment is outsourcing not to a single service provider, but to a consortium of service providers. Typically a consortium is formed by organizations coming together for a common business interest.
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TS Sharat is a senior patent engineer and leads the intellectual property support services unit at Clairvolex Knowledge Processes, a Delhi-based legal outsourcing firm.
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