Our methodology is based on a weighted review of information submitted by firms (research forms here), market feedback and publicly available information. Our 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 we rank
Please note that we do not have all the rankings listed below in all jurisdictions.
Prosecution ranking (patent and trade mark): Here we consider all registration-related work including portfolio management advice and IP office proceedings such as oppositions and appeals. Where relevant, we take account of litigation support work.
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 and litigation coordination work. Please note that we do not normally consider 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 (US only): We consider all regulatory work in the life sciences sector including pharmaceutical, biotechnology and medical technology. Typical regulatory work considered include advice on patent term extension rights, market exclusivity rights and research exemption.
ITC litigation ranking: We consider contentious and non-contentious IP work concerning 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 non-contentious work on any sale, licensing or other business transaction or agreement involving IP. We 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 ‘Intellectual Property’ ranking table and for the Managing IP awards.
Intellectual property ranking: Here we consider all IP-related information.
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, 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, 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. We may also review any available data we obtained in previous years to better understand a firm's track record and expertise.
Please note that participation in our research or surveys does not guarantee that your firm will be ranked.
Firms are ranked alphabetically in tiers or as ‘Highly recommended or ‘Recommended’, depending on the jurisdiction. The rankings reflect the strengths and reputation of firms vis-à-vis their rivals, according to available research information. For example, firms in Tier 1 and Tier 2 have a leading reputation, 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. The firm rankings and IP stars lists are subject to change each year.
Although all the selected leading practitioners are regarded as IP stars, we specify the area of IP in which they have the most reputation and experience. Patent star and trade mark star are the two main practitioner rankings we have.
Selecting the stars
We select IP practitioners based on all the 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 and an individual can be included as a result of our own independent research. All our IP practitioner listings 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 other special awards to recognise, among other things, corporate social responsibility and individual achievements.