Our methodology is based on a weighted review of information from firms, market feedback and other available information.
The links to our online surveys can be found here. Please note that participation in our surveys does not guarantee ranking in IP STARS. See our FAQs page for more information.
The practice areas we rank
Prosecution ranking (patent and trade mark): Here we consider all registration-related work and any interaction with the IP office, both pre-and post-grant. For example, where relevant, we take into account oppositions, revocation and invalidity actions, strategy and portfolio management advice, and patent litigation support.
Contentious ranking (patent and trade mark): Here we mainly consider dispute resolution work, especially litigation and enforcement. It does not matter whether the matter is in a court or tribunal or reached trial. Where relevant we also consider domain names, Hatch-Waxman litigation, ITC litigation and multinational litigation coordination. Please note that we do not generally consider contentious IP office proceedings under this ranking.
Copyright ranking: We consider non-contentious and contentious copyright and related rights work across all copyright-based sectors including digital/software.
Life sciences ranking: At the moment this ranking is only available in the US. We consider all regulatory work in the life science sectors, particularly pharmaceuticals and biotechnology. For example, Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Regulatory work.
*Transactional and advisory ranking: We consider non-contentious IP advisory work and contractual work including licensing, security agreement, due diligence, franchising, strategy and tax relief.
*Designs ranking: We consider non-contentious and contentious designs work, whether registered or not.
*We intend to produce rankings for IP transactions and designs in the near future.
Factors we evaluate
In general, we are particularly interested in 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, 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, it is possible for a firm not to be ranked in a higher tier or at all in IP STARS despite receiving positive market feedback.
All the firms ranked in each edition of IP STARS have been included because research information for the year in question suggest that they are active and on the whole provide high quality service.
However, we use a 'Tier' or 'Recommended' system to highlight their market position for that practice area taking into account all the attributes we assess. Tier 1 is the highest ranking, but we regard firms in Tiers 1 and 2 or those ranked as 'Highly Recommended' as our top-tier firms. Typically, the top-tier firms possess an outstanding reputation and track record in their jurisdiction or region for the ranking category in question.
For the avoidance of doubt, a lower tier does not mean that a firm offers low quality service. The firm rankings and IP stars lists are subject to change each year.
Managing IP Awards
Each year we recognise firms that were involved in highly significant contentious and non-contentious IP work. We also have awards for in-house IP departments and for individuals or firms that contribute to the advancement of the IP ecosystem and/or are active in corporate social responsibility initiatives.