Research forms and submission guidelines

Official submissions to IP STARS are made online through our submissions portal and using the research forms provided. On this page you will find the research documents you need to complete, links to our online submission portal and basic submission guidelines.

The deadline to submit your research documents is October 31.


Click here to download the firm questionnaire

Click here to download the client referees document*

Please include your firm's name and country when saving the spreadsheet (FirmName_Country_IPSTARSReferees). Fully complete both documents and check them thoroughly before submitting.


Click here to submit the completed firm research documents**

**This is a password-protected portal. Please check the invitation email you received from us for the password. If you wish to participate and have not yet received an email from us please contact


The guidelines below must be read together with the information in our research forms and on other parts of our website.

Please make sure that all your research forms are correct and complete before you submit them. We cannot guarantee that subsequent changes or amendments to what you first submitted will be considered or implemented.


  • Please write ‘(Confidential)’ next to any information that you do not want us to publish. Any information, especially client name or work description, not marked as such may be published. Furthermore, any information in the public domain may be published.

  • Providing client names which are not marked confidential enhances your firm's credibility in the eyes of the researcher. However, we understand that this may not be possible for certain reasons.

  • The client names in your client referees document will be treated as strictly confidential and will not be published.

Client referees

  • Please include your firm’s name and country when saving your client referees document. Label your document as follows: FirmName_Country_IPSTARSReferees.

  • Submit your client referees document via our online submission portal (please do not send your referees via email).

  • You can provide as many referees as you want, but try to be selective. We need at least five client referees.

  • You may lose ratings score if you do not provide client referees.

  • Please try to avoid giving us the same client referees that you have already submitted to the other legal directories in the same year.

  • Ensure the referees you provide are happy and willing to provide us with feedback before you submit your client referees document.

  • A 'referral' client referee is someone who works in a law firm/IP firm, whereas a 'direct' client referee is anyone else who is outside a law firm/IP firm. A typical direct client referee is an in-house legal counsel.

  • Please make sure that all your client referees are correct and complete before you submit them.

  • Our aim is to contact referees soon after the submission deadline. Please inform your referees to expect to hear from us between November and March. Unsuitable referees will be disregarded.

Firm questionnaire

  • Please include your firm’s name and country when saving your firm questionnaire. The suggested labelling is FirmName_Country_IPSTARS2019.

  • Submit your firm questionnaire (Word format) through our online submissions portal (please do not send your firm questionnaire via email).

  • Use the official documents we have provided and fully complete them. You will impress the researchers by providing all the required information in the text fields for each case study.

  • You can include the IP case studies that you sent to another legal directory. Please be mindful of the case study’s date and the text fields we require. Read more about this on our FAQs page.

  • Each firm questionnaire must be about your firm’s work, practitioners and activities in the country in which your firm wishes to be ranked.

  • Provide up to 15 recent case studies in each section, starting with the most important or significant ones. You can provide more than 15 case studies if you wish.

  • You will not lose ratings score for providing fewer than 15 case studies in each section.

  • You are allowed to include case studies concerning other IP-related areas not currently covered in IP STARS. Please use the last case study section titled 'Other IP case studies'.

  • All client case studies must be ongoing or concluded work within the last 12 months, ideally work highlights from November last year.

  • We want to learn about all your recent case studies (non-contentious and contentious) even if your client was on the losing side. We want to know whether your firm is truly active and of course the quality of representation or advice given to clients.

  • Please do not delete any question or section in our firm questionnaire document. If a question or section does not apply to your firm then please leave it blank.

  • Official submissions to IP STARS are made online through our submission portal. Please do not send your completed research documents via email.

  • Please make sure that all your research forms are correct and complete before you submit them.


Section 1: About your firm

Q1(a): Senior IP practitioners are individuals at partner level or equivalent.

Q1(b): Rising stars are IP practitioners that are below partner level or equivalent.

Q1(c): You may include partner or associate promotions under the ‘hires and departures’ section.
Q1(d): Keep your responses to this question concise, bearing in mind that we are only interested in learning about your firm’s IP capabilities and recent developments in the last 12 months. Ensure that the information you provide in this section is specific to your firm’s IP practice.

Word count limit

Rising star comments (question 1.b): no more than 100 words.

IP practice overview (question 1.d): no more than 1200 words.

We expect firms to use their judgement and keep to the word count limit. Please try to avoid providing information that is already on your website.

IP filing and disputes statistics

  • You can provide an estimate on the number of IP rights that your firm advised or worked on in the last 12 months. Please list them by IP right or practice area.

  • You may show evidence of your firm’s work by including web links.

  • IP disputes cover contentious work in the IP Office and court. For example, for contentious IP Office work you can provide statistics on oppositions and appeals that your firm dealt with in the last 12 months.

Key IP clients

  • Please list your clients by IP area, e.g. patent clients, trade mark clients, copyright clients and so on, or by industry sector, e.g. pharmaceutical clients, mechanical engineering clients, electronics clients etc. Please also state whether they are new or long-standing clients.

  • It is not mandatory to list all your clients, but listing as many as possible (large or small clients) demonstrates the size and breadth of your practice.

Sections 2 - 6
General guidance notes on case studies

Fully complete all the applicable text fields because we use all that information during our research. For example, it is in your firm’s best interests to state the client names and their industry sectors and the key senior and junior practitioners involved in each matter. We respect confidentiality so feel free to mark any client name confidential (see 'Confidentiality' above).

After completing the text fields, provide a summary of the matter and your firm's work or role. If there is a cross-border element to the work then please mention this.

The last part of each case study is where you briefly explain the significance, impact and/or, if applicable, outcome of the matter. Remember we use the information in the case study section for the Managing IP awards and therefore if you believe a matter deserves recognition then it is best to use this section to tell us why. Read more about the awards below.

Case study word count limit

Summary of the work: no more than 100 words.

The significance, impact and/or outcome: no more than 400 words.

The firms and practitioners on the other side

Where relevant, it is advantageous to state the name(s) of the opposing firm(s) and lead practitioner(s) involved in each matter. It enhances your firm’s credibility.

The practice areas we consider

We consider contentious and non-contentious work, primarily focusing on patent, trade mark, copyright and design. Details of the type of work we evaluate can be found on our methodology page here.

Section 2: Patent work case studies

In this section, please focus on patent (for US firms, 'utility patent') case studies. You are also allowed to include other case studies concerning inventions including advice on patent protection extension such as supplementary protection certificate or an equivalent right.

Firms with strong life sciences practice can also provide case studies on regulatory work such as data and market exclusivity rights.

Section 3: Trade mark work case studies

Please focus on trade mark and brand protection case studies in this section. You are also allowed to include other related case studies such as unfair competition (for example passing off), domain names, certification marks and geographical indications.

Section 4: Copyright work case studies

Provide case studies on copyright as well as related rights such as performers right and broadcasting right.

Section 5: Design work case studies

This section is about registered and unregistered design work (for US firms, 'design patent').

Section 6: IP transaction work case studies

This section is about any transactions work which involves IP; particularly advice on licensing or sale of any IP right.

Section 7: The Managing IP Awards

The annual Managing IP Awards is the premier IP industry award programme which recognises the achievements of firms and practitioners. The award shortlists and winners are published on our website

In this section you are required to nominate other firms for any of the awards before nominating your firm for consideration. To nominate your firm, you can simply mention any of your case study or case studies that you would like us to consider for any of our awards.

This section also gives you another opportunity to provide a very brief statement on why your firm deserves to win any of the awards. We would like to learn about the most significant disputes your firm dealt with, even if your client was on the losing side.

Please note: Our researchers will be impressed if you also nominate other firms to win any of the awards. You do not need to nominate other firms for all the award categories.


We have national and regional awards covering a range of IP areas. The categories are subject to change each year, and we may present more categories based on the information obtained during the research period.

Below are the general guidelines for our main awards:

  • Impact Case of the Year: This is any IP case in the last 12 months that made, or will make, a big impact in the area of IP practice in question or industry sector. Impact cases are normally landmark court/tribunal or IP office decisions that clarified or changed law, rule or legal practice. You can also tell us about matters concerning uncommon court orders or remedies (e.g. substantial damages or injunctions) and cases that dealt with new legal arguments or followed an innovative approach.

  • Firm of the Year: This is any firm, regardless of size, that performed exceptionally well in the area of IP or IP work in question in the last 12 months. Nominees typically have a number of remarkable case studies but we may also consider other factors such as client care and matters not related to the case studies. The regional award category recognizes the firm’s overall achievements in IP in more than one country in a given region.

  • IP Transactions/Deal of the Year: This is any sale, licensing or other business transaction involving IP which demonstrates a high level of sophistication and understanding of how to extract commercial value from IP. All IP-related agreements, regardless of monetary value, will be considered.

  • Best for Innovation/Technology: This is any firm that has developed and implemented creative and effective solutions to IP challenges, particularly through the use of technology.

  • In-House IP Team of the Year: This recognises collective, remarkable achievements by an in-house IP team in and outside work.


An email including a link to the online survey will be sent directly to the current IP stars. Other practitioners may be invited to participate.

Quick links

IP STARS research methodology
IP STARS research deadlines
IP STARS team contacts