US-based business development offices for Australian firms

The recent news that Davies Collison Cave has appointed a US-based client liaison principal got me to thinking about the old chestnut about whether Australian patent attorney firms should have offices in the US – not to do US-based work – but to bring in work from the US for the Australian jurisdiction (and South-East Asia if your firm happens to have working offices there).

I have often heard it discussed at a partner level but never seen anything come of it.  Perhaps because it all seemed too hard, and perhaps because of the perception that partners who do the work must also be rainmakers or at least minders).  In terms of metrics, trying to ascertain responsible billings would be hard when work was sourced from your overseas BD office but carried out by a partner the Australian office.

Perhaps this mindset is changing because of the change to an ASX-listed entity or perhaps it was driven by a perception that restrictions on partner travel due to COVID meant personal relationships with US clients were unravelling and a stopgap measure needed to be put in place.

In any case, it will be interesting to watch how this approach will go and whether it leads to more locally-based business development in the major jurisdictions of the US, Europe and Japan.

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