Our research methodology is based on a weighted review of information submitted by firms (research forms here), market feedback and publicly available information. This annual research is conducted rigorously and impartially. No firm or individual can pay to be ranked or to influence the results, and there is no fee to participate in the research. Participation in our research does not guarantee listing.

Below we provide an overview of what we consider. See our FAQs page for more information.

THE PRACTICE AREAS
Please note that we do not have all the rankings listed below in all jurisdictions.

Prosecution ranking (patent and trade mark): For this we consider all registration-related work, including portfolio management advice and IP office proceedings such as oppositions and appeals. We may take account of litigation support work for the patent prosecution rankings.

Contentious ranking (patent and trade mark): We consider dispute resolution work and enforcement. It does not matter whether the dispute is in a court or tribunal or reached trial. Where appropriate, we can consider related practice areas; for example, for the trade mark contentious ranking we can consider domain name disputes, and for the patent contentious ranking in the US we can take account of Hatch-Waxman Act litigation work. Please note that we do not normally consider IP Office proceedings here.

Copyright ranking: We consider non-contentious and contentious copyright and related rights work in all copyright-based sectors, including software.

Life sciences ranking (US only): We consider all regulatory work in fields such as pharmaceutical and biotechnology. Typical regulatory work considered include advice on patent term extension rights, market exclusivity rights, research exemption and the Orange Book/Hatch-Waxman Act.

ITC litigation ranking: We consider contentious and non-contentious IP work relating to the US International Trade Commission (ITC).

PTAB litigation ranking: We consider USPTO trial proceedings, particularly Inter Partes Review (IPR) work.

IP transactions ranking: We consider work concerning the sale or licensing of IP. We can also consider advice related to research collaboration agreements and IP tax relief.

Design ranking: We consider registered and unregistered design work. Until we introduce this ranking table, we will consider design case studies in jurisdictions where we have a general ‘Intellectual Property’ ranking table as well as for the Managing IP awards.

Intellectual property ranking: Here we consider all IP-related work.


FACTORS WE EVALUATE
Each year we look at a firm's strengths in the practice area concerned and client outcomes delivered. The key information we evaluate include:
(a) the expertise in the firm, track record, sectors covered and depth of resources;
(b) the size of workload and its level of sophistication;
(c) changes within the firm, especially staff hires or departures and client wins or losses; and
(d) competitor and client feedback received.

These are assessed cumulatively and no one factor is decisive. For example, positive market feedback on its own does not guarantee a higher ranking or any ranking. When assessing firms, we may also review any available, relevant data we obtained in previous years to better understand the firm's track record and expertise.

Please note that participation in our research or surveys does not guarantee that your firm will be ranked.

FIRM RANKING SYSTEM
Firms are ranked alphabetically in tiers or as ‘Highly recommended or ‘Recommended’, depending on the jurisdiction. The rankings reflect the strength and reputation of firms vis-à-vis their rivals, according to available research information. For example, we find that firms in Tier 1 and Tier 2 have a strong reputation in the market with a well-established IP practitioners and a varied, sizeable workload.

For the avoidance of doubt, a lower tier does not mean that a firm offers low quality service in that practice area. The firm rankings and IP stars lists are subject to change each year.

SELECTING THE LEADING INDIVIDUALS
We also select and rank IP practitioners based on available information, including market feedback, obtained during the research period. We are very selective and therefore not all IP practitioners will be included. Participation in our research or surveys does not guarantee inclusion. An individual can be included as a result of our own independent research. We can include an individual from an unranked firm. All our IP practitioner listings are subject to change each year.

MANAGING IP AWARDS
Our research analysts also conduct the research for the Managing IP awards. The awards recognise firms that were involved in remarkable contentious and non-contentious IP work in the previous year. See the shortlists and winners from previous years on our awards page at www.managingip.com/Awards.html


Quick links
IP STARS research deadlines
IP STARS research forms and guidelines
IP STARS team contacts
IP STARS FAQs