IAM 250: The long tail of strategists

by Andrew Watson on 15 September 2009


So it’s no surprise just by looking at the map of the IAM 250 list of IP strategists that the US leads the list for strategists-by-country. It’s a big place, a leading global economy, and one that has made IP and innovation a priority.

But it’s not clear just how much the US leads the league tables on sheer number of listed IP strategists from the map – so I made a graph:


The US leads with 195 of the listings, or 76%, with a more than comfortable lead over it’s closest competitor – the United Kingdom – at 16 listings and about 6%. With 19 countries represented, there is definitely a long tail of IP strategists, with the short head being the US.

Europe’s role

In terms of Europe, this fits with Benoit and David’s observation in their earlier post about the IP ecosystem in Europe:

IP generation [in Europe] is thus not an issue, whereas utilisation most definitely is. Traditionally, European organisations will utilise the IP they have generated either by making products based on that IP or else by licensing that IP to another party, or a combination of the two. Beyond that, other notions of utilisation are scant,

IP strategists and related IP services are about the utilisation of IP, and thus it makes sense that less utilisation (at least when compared to the level in the US) would produce less listed strategists. Benoit and David’s chart of the IP ecosystem is worth reviewing again in this context.

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Innovationpartners » No IP-Strategists in Denmark?
10.13.09 at 9:09 am

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Andrew Watson 09.21.09 at 7:46 am


This most certainly reflects our experience in the market. If you want to find a good IP strategist in Europe you will likely find a 1-2 man boutique, often with people who are highly specialised in one field (say brokerage for the excellent team at Exponent) or sector (BDC in Basle seem very pharma focused). Even at ipVA where we have gone to build a bigger, broader team, we are conscious that we often have to partner to fill gaps we don’t have if we are going to give the client the best product. Its a good model and we work with the best in fields like valuations for example, but it does show that nobody yet has all of the pieces of the jigsaw.

An interesting follow on graph would be to look at the number of people in each organisation (your wordle research?). How many organisations in which the IAM250 people work have say 2 or more people listed. I’d be surprised if even in the US you found more than 2-3 people in most of the organisations for whom they work.

We are still in a boutique/innovator market in our view. Consolidation is likely 2-3 years out I’d guess.


JS Hatcher 09.21.09 at 12:48 pm

Thanks for the comments Andrew!

The data doesn’t have firm size information, but it would be a very interesting area to try to build out and explore — as well as other factors such as whether they are a law firm, accountants, management consultants, and so on. It wouldn’t be too hard to get the data — it’s just a question of time as there are a lot of listings. Wonder if we could crowd-source it if there was any interest? Make an editable list that everyone could add more detailed information to at any time?

Food for thought.

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