There’s no shortage of boutique/specialist IP firms in the Sydney and, across all ends of the market there’s strong competition yet somehow this hasn’t produced the typical market response of a few firms pricing “affordably”. Indeed the “affordable” option when it comes to IP lawyers that exists in other Australian jurisdictions doesn’t really exist in NSW. Certainly there are firms presenting an IP offering at a lower pricing level but these aren’t firms or lawyers featuring in our rankings.
Not only is there an absence of affordable IP lawyers in Sydney across the board the the city’s IP lawyers are generally more expensive than their Melbourne counterparts. The usual mid-tier price point of $500-$600 per hour was occupied by 25% of the market and, as in Victoria, the most common price point (38% of individuals) is between $600-$700 per hour.
However it’s at the upper end of the market where Sydney distinguishes itself. In Melbourne only 14% of IP lawyers price themselves above $700 per hour. In Sydney 37% of IP lawyers sit above $700 per hour. Of this 37%, the overwhelming majority (29%) sat within the $700-$800 per hour band.
When it comes to hourly rates the rule of thumb is that litigators (particularly those with an emphasis on patent work) sit a higher hourly rate than their non-contentious counterparts.
Sydney’s IP lawyers mirror their counterparts in other states when it comes to the use of alternative billing methods with 87% of individuals having used models other than the hourly rate in the past 12 months.
Of those who use alternative billing methods, 84% used fixed price, 73% capped their fees, 42% adopted stage based costing and 31% implemented retainer agreements. The higher than normal use of retainers can be largely attributed to portfolio management arrangements and other non-contentious matters.