In June 2009 the Australian Bureau of Statistics published Legal Services, its latest round of statistics on the legal sector. It contained the graphic on the left charting barrister fees and work areas. You’ll see intellectual property is about 5% of barrister fees, AKA barrister litigation legal costs.

The Bureau breaks the data down into detail in a spreadsheet. Tab 4 of the spreadsheet indicates that in dollar terms the 5% for intellectual property equals A$51.2 million. Let’s put that into context.

Compare the A$51.2 m to other barrister fee income areas. There’s family law (A$74.7 m); industrial relations (A$73.8 m); property (A$59.3 m); and wills, probate and estate activities (A$38.2 m).

All these areas are still way behind the three lead areas for barrister fee income. These are first commercial law, which at A$377.7 m represents 27.3% of total barrister fees. Second, personal injury which at A$300.4 m is 21.7%. And third, criminal law which accounted for 11.8% (or A$162.6m).

The barrister income fees from IP litigation are further evidence of IP being an increasingly litigated area of law. It may be understated given the many matters resolved with letters of demand or in mediation.

Warning: punchline follows. Want to greatly minimise IP and business litigation legal costs? Hire solicitors and consultants to prepare appropriate contracts and other documentation. Additionally, ensure you seek appropriate and higher quality IP registrations for trade marks, patents, designs, domain names etc.

If IP is part of your business reality or future, secure your IP income. It will reduce the portion that will go to legal fees applied as litigation costs for barristers and solicitors. Call us for a chat on how we can proactively reduce your potential litigation costs.

Noric Dilanchian