In-house Salaries for Directors and Heads of IP

5 Minutes

There is less data on salaries within in-house IP teams, than there is on salaries within pr...

There is less data on salaries within in-house IP teams, than there is on salaries within private practices, simply because there are fewer attorneys working within industry, and therefore the number of management or director positions are naturally fewer and further between. Coupled with this, is the fact that industry roles tend to be highly sought after, and because there are fewer of them, there tends to be less movement than there is in private practice, and therefore fewer vacancies, and fewer attorneys looking to find a new role.

The data that does arise from industry recruitment can be enormously varied, simply because of the huge variation in the size and structure of companies with in-house IP teams (and their budgets), as well as the size and structure of the teams themselves. Some IP groups will have 10 staff handling the same size of portfolio as a team of 40 in a similar company, but it will be structured entirely differently because more of the work is outsourced to external counsel. For example, one company which has been through a tough time financially may decide to keep in-house headcount to a minimum and outsource more of their work, whereas another may adopt entirely the opposite strategy and decide to save costs of external counsel by bringing more of the work in-house.

From the data we’ve collated in the last financial year (which includes budgets from recruitment campaigns, specific offers made and accepted, as well as information from attorneys who have instructed us to search for a new role, or who have come to us for salary advice), on average, the basic salary for a Director or Head of IP within industry is approximately £120,000 with benefits, which will usually include a bonus (which can range from £2000 to £50,000), pension, private health, car, and often stock or share options which may vest over the coming 3-5 years.

However, this is an average figure, and the range between salaries has varied from a basic of £80,000 plus benefits, to a total package of £250,000. The figures tend to depend on how much autonomy an attorney has over their geographical and commercial areas of responsibility, how many attorneys they manage across how wide an area, how much work is handled in-house and how much is outsourced, how much competition there might be for the role (ie how easy would it be to replace them if they were to leave), and how profitable / high profile the company is.

For example, an attorney with sole responsibility for IP in the UK, who outsources the majority of the work and has autonomy over a small team of 2 or 3 employees, but who reports into a higher grade attorney outside of the UK, may be looking at a basic salary of between £80,000 to £95000 plus benefits.

Another example is an attorney with responsibility for a team of 10, at a similar level of experience (circa 5 years’ qualified) and across a similar geographical area, who is currently
on a basic salary of £105,000 with a bonus that can go up to circa £30,000 depending on both company and individual performance.

By contrast, attorneys with a wider global responsibility can expect a significantly higher package, so for example the attorney on a package of £250,000 would typically be at least 10-15 years’ qualified, with responsibility for the company’s IP either globally or everywhere outside the US, and heading a team of at least 20 people together with responsibility for a particular function, eg Litigation. Another attorney in a similar position with responsibility for a similar sized team across the US and other specific European countries, is currently earning a package of circa £140,000 basic with a £45,000 bonus.

As is evident, this is not a precise science, but the examples above are intended to give some guidance both to in-house attorneys and their employers, as to the range of salaries we see, and the factors which influence and differentiate them from each other. Have a look at our recent salary survey, or for further information or indeed a confidential discussion on specific circumstances, whether you’re looking to recruit or to change roles as an in-house attorney, please contact or Catherine French or Lisa Kelly on 0113 245 3338.