As Navtej Saluja, head of intellectual property, Evalueserve, one of the leaders in this space, explains, "A lot of LPO work being done in India has been glorified BPO jobs like filling up forms etc. Patent outsourcing, on the other hand, is a more high end KPO job that requires specific skills and understanding." It involves end-to-end search jobs before a patent is being filed, drafting the papers, patent analytics. No wonder, vendors who do this niche job hire engineers, scientists, lawyers and train them for IP work.
Last year, there were about 50 vendors offering patent services from India. As of now, US accounts for 60% of the work. "IP currently accounts for over 45% of the LPO market and is expected to lead the growth in this sector in the next three to five years," says Bhaskar Bagchi, country head, CPA India. ValueNotes classifies the patent services offshoring industry in India broadly into three groups: captives, third-party multi-service providers and third-party pure play patent service providers. Third-party vendors account for more than 75% of the industry.
In terms of dollars, the article states:
A study by ValueNotes, a Pune-based research firm shows, revenues from the Indian patent services offshoring industry are estimated at $46 million for 2007. It's expected to reach $206 million by end 2012. The study reveals the current addressable value of the patent services offshoring market is estimated at $2.2 billion.
Now, how does this impact "patent quality," one way or another?