INTA’s 2020 In-House Practitioners Benchmarking Report Looks at Changing Roles

Published: January 13, 2021

In-house trademark teams are always being asked to do more with less. This is especially true now, as businesses confront economic uncertainty and changing consumer attitudes and expectations toward brands. To help in-house practitioners adapt and advance in their roles and maintain an all-star team within their organizations during evolving times, INTA has released its 2020 In-House Practitioners Benchmarking Report.

Available only to members, the Report presents benchmarking research on the changing roles and responsibilities of in-house brand teams. Data found in the Report represents 500+ in-house practitioners from 300+ organizations around the globe. Using this data, the Report:

  • Captures baseline characteristics of in-house practitioners, their teams, their work with internal business units and outside collaborators (law firms and service firms)—such as on team budgets, recruitment, advancement, and talent management—and shows the perception of the value of trademarks and brands within the organization’s leadership.
  • Explores current and future challenges facing in-house practitioners, including topics around diversity, equity and inclusion, and COVID-19.
  • Provides a resource for in-house practitioners to benchmark compensation and benefits.
  • Provides a resource for outside collaborators (law firms and service firms) to better understand the needs of their clients.

In collaboration with the Association’s In-House Practitioners (IHP) Committee, Research Advisory Council, and staff, the research firm Corona Insights designed a two-part study to accomplish these objectives. In the first phase of the study, the firm gathered quantitative data through an online survey of INTA in-house practitioner members in June and July of 2020. Immediately afterward, it conducted a series of in-depth confidential interviews with a sample of survey respondents to supplement and enhance the quantitative findings.

This research and its various deliverables will provide critical insights to in-house trademark teams as well as outside collaborators. Additionally, the knowledge gained from this research will inform INTA’s initiatives to develop more bespoke research, programming, and resources to support stronger trademark legal teams.

In terms of the results of the research, Caroline Chicoine, Chair of the Research Advisory Council, said, “The research features in-depth insights into the roles and responsibilities of in-house brand teams, and we have collated the deliverables into different report packages to cater to the individual and organizational needs of our different members. At the same time, if you wanted to get a sneak peek of the key findings of the research, the eight key findings for the research are outlined in the Executive Summary, which is publicly available.”

The 2020 In-House Practitioners Benchmarking Report is comprised of the following deliverables:

  • Executive Summary: PDF including key findings of the Report.
  • Full Written Report: PDF including key findings and analysis of the survey results.
  • PowerPoint Presentation: The Full Written Report summarized in the PowerPoint format consisting of close to 50 slides, followed by an Appendix of additional slides for most of the individual survey questions and responses.
  • Compensation & Benefits Special Edition Report: PDF including key findings and analysis of the survey results pertaining to compensation and benefits.
  • Compensation & Benefits Special Edition Spreadsheet: Excel Spreadsheet including survey results of all compensation and benefits questions further segmented by 15 pre-selected criteria (age, position, gender, region of residence, U.S. region of residence, region of organization’s headquarters, U.S. region of company headquarters, gender, total number of employees, total team size, total number of trademarks, industry, total number of years in trademarks, total trademarks per team member, and percent of team that are lawyers).
  • Outside Collaborators Special Edition Report: PDF including key findings and analysis of the survey results pertaining to law firms and other outsider service providers.

One of the key findings of the benchmarking research is that prosecution and registration work continue to be the focus for in-house trademark practitioners. However, the survey results also show that in-house practitioners see their responsibilities expanding into new areas, including client counseling and reviewing marketing materials.

“The research results speak to the changing role of in-house brand teams, which now extends beyond traditional trademark portfolio asset management,” commented Jennifer Gruber, Vice-Chair of the In-House Practitioners Committee. “It was also important for me personally that our research went beyond trademark practice, but also had a sharp focus on broader topics like diversity and inclusion and work life balance.”

When it came to partnering with law firms and service firms, 87 percent of in-house practitioners said they collaborated with outside law firms on enforcement/litigation/oppositions, and 57 percent said they collaborated with non-law firm outside service providers on domain name management.

Jack Wessel of Gilead Sciences, Inc., called the Report “an excellent resource for INTA in-house practitioners, particularly at a time without in-person benchmarking opportunities.”

“It is critical for in-house practitioners to have these types of data points on industry trends and best practices to formulate internal strategies and advocate for resources,” said Mr. Wessel, the Project Team Leader for the Corporate Survey Team from the IHP Committee. “Developing strong partnerships and discovering new outside collaborators directly impacts our success.”

According to Ms. Gruber, the additional deliverables that are available with the Report are also very valuable.

“Our best partners have been those who are experts in the field of trademarks and have taken the initiative to learn about our industry. Each industry has unique features, so demonstrating that you have taken an extra step to learn more about mine goes a long way,” she said.

For example, in-depth findings on these relationships can be found in the Outside Collaborators Special Edition Report, which is available in both the Power Pro Associate and Power Pro Corporate packages. Find out more about the Report packages.

Although every effort has been made to verify the accuracy of this article, readers are urged to check independently on matters of specific concern or interest. 

© 2021 International Trademark Association