The Largest Patent Law Firms in Australia

Published On: 2020-06-09|Tags: , |1.8 min read|

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The patent prosecution market in Australia is highly concentrated and dominated by a rather small number of players. Just 5 firms represent the majority of filings among the top 50 firms in terms of filing volume.

The largest patent prosecution firm is SPRUSON & FERGUSON, representing almost 5,200 patent applications first published in 2019. Number 2 is DAVIES COLLISON CAVE with nearly 3,300 filings in 2019. GRIFFITH HACK comes in third at 2,750 filings.

On rank 4 and 5 we find FB RICE and PHILLIPS ORMONDE & FITZPATRICK, the only two independent firms among the largest Australian patent firms. The third largest independent firm is MADDERNS on rank 10.

All other firms belong either to IPH or QANTM. Besides SPRUSON & FERGUSON, IPH owns GRIFFITH HACK, PIZZEYS, SHELSTON IP, WATERMARK and AJ PARK. With the exception of the AJ Park, all of these firms are in the top 10 of the Australian filing volume ranking and account for almost 8,500 representations in 2019. Griffith Hack, Shelston IP and Watermark became part of IPH through the acquisition of Xenith IP. Since April 2020, Watermark is integrated in Griffith Hack.

QANTM, the other public IP firm holding, owns DAVIES COLLISON CAVE, FPA PATENT ATTORNEYS (rank 8) and recently acquired COTTERS (rank 16). QANTM firms account for 5,100 filings overall.

The concentration becomes apparent in comparison to other markets, In Germany, for example, 13 firms are necessary to reach 50% of the filings for the top 50 firms. For the United States we count 15 firms.

GRIFFITH HACK is the largest firm in terms of domestic filings (= filings in patent families where the firm has represented the first filing plus further subsequent filings). The ranks do not change drastically between foreign and domestic filings in the top 10. Commonly, firms that rank in the top 10 for domestic filings, also appear in the top 10 for foreign work (= the priority filing was represented abroad). WATERMARK and PIZZEYS are exceptions, highly focused on foreign filings.

The ratio of PCT-based filings is usually in the range of 60-70%. We see less variation in Australia than for example in Great Britain.

IP GATEWAY, MICHAEL BUCK IP and GOLJA HAINES & FRIEND show the strongest increase in ranks over the last five year.

CULLENS and FISHER ADAMS KELLY CALLINANS are two firms whose brands have been discontinued after joining IPH.

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