IP STARS is an annual publication based on research primarily done over a six-month period, starting from September each year. However, our research analysts regularly monitor firms and individuals and can conduct research on them at any time in the year.
Our rankings are based on a weighted review of information submitted by firms, publicly available information, and market feedback.
Each year, Managing IP’s research analysts in London, New York and Hong Kong obtain information from thousands of firms, IP practitioners and their clients through interviews, emails and online surveys. Before compiling the rankings, our research analysts also conduct their own independent research, including an analysis of publicly available information (such as court or IP office data) and the existing data we hold on firms.
All our rankings are based on the information available at the time the research was completed. Except for firm name changes, any subsequent developments or information that can influence our ranking decisions will be considered during the research for the next edition. However, Managing IP reserves the right to remove a firm or individual from our website at any time.
The research is conducted rigorously and impartially. There is no fee to pay to participate in the research. Individuals and firms can publish their own IP practice profile in the handbook and/or on our website for a fee, but this does not influence the rankings whatsoever. No firm or individual can pay to be ranked or to influence the results.
Furthermore, the rankings are not influenced by the Managing IP Awards programme, and vice versa. For the avoidance of doubt, our rankings do not suggest that the services or expertise of the ranked firms or individuals are limited to the practice area mentioned, and Managing IP does not endorse any particular firm or individual.
IP STARS is not a directory of all firms and individuals offering IP services. Participation in our research does not guarantee ranking, and our rankings are subject to change each year.
Below we provide an overview of what we consider. See our FAQs page for more information.
Please note that the practice areas listed below are not available in all jurisdictions. The practice areas we research are subject to change each year, i.e. we may decide to discontinue or add a practice area.
The factors we evaluate
Each year we look at a firm's strengths in the practice area concerned and client outcomes achieved. The key information we evaluate include:
These are assessed cumulatively and no one factor is decisive. For example, positive feedback on its own does not guarantee a higher ranking or any ranking. When assessing firms, we may also review and take account of any relevant data we obtained in previous years. Researchers can also rank firms and/or individuals using independent research data.
Participation in our research or surveys does not guarantee that a firm will be ranked.
Firm ranking system
Firms are ranked alphabetically in tiers or as highly recommended or recommended. In some jurisdictions with a tier system, we also recognise a few active firms under a tier titled 'Other Notable Firms'. The total number of firms listed varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. For most jurisdictions, the rankings are split into prosecution and contentious work, whereas in smaller jurisdictions we evaluated and ranked firms for their IP practice as a whole. Some firms can be ranked for more than one practice area.
The rankings reflect our understanding of the strengths of the firms vis-à-vis their rivals; for example, tier 1 or highly recommended firms tend to have a leading reputation or expertise in the relevant practice area, long-established practitioners and a varied portfolio of work.
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.
We also rank IP practitioners based on available information obtained during our research. We are very selective and therefore not all IP practitioners will be ranked.
Participation in our research or surveys does not guarantee ranking, and a practitioner can be ranked using our own independent research data only. All our IP practitioner rankings are subject to change each year.
We only have three official practitioner rankings:
Top 250 Women in IP: This special designation is for exceptional female IP practitioners. Practitioners featured in the Managing IP's Top 250 Women in IP publication are picked from our general IP Stars list for the year. Learn more here.
Notable practitioner: This new tag (introduced in October 2020) is used to recognise individuals who play either an active or a supportive role in their firms. Individuals with this tag include senior practitioners such as partners and former partners.
Please note: A practitioner can be added to our website as 'Unranked' or 'Notable practitioner' at any time in the year.
We also use the data submitted for the IP STARS rankings to conduct the research for the Managing IP (MIP) Awards programme. The IP STARS rankings and the MIP Awards programme are two separate research projects and one does not necessarily influence the other. For example, any firm, regardless of its ranking, can win the MIP award.
The MIP Awards programme is the premier annual awards event for IP firms and professionals worldwide. This industry-leading awards programme, which was established in 2006, recognises remarkable IP-related achievements. Current and previous shortlists and winners can be found at www.managingip.com
We have several jurisdictional and regional award categories for firms. We also have special awards to recognise impact cases and individuals.
The awards are based on the information obtained during the research period, and therefore the categories and number of awards are subject to change each year (for example, we may decide to present a special award to recognise corporate social responsibility initiatives).
Below is a brief explanation of our main awards. The research for the awards cover the various practice areas mentioned above.