The London office of an American law firm, together with a Jersey firm, have secured litigation finance to investigate and possibly sue CPA Global over alleged systematic and widespread overcharging of clients for patent renewal services.
Kobre & Kim and Baker & Partners have agreed funding from Bentham IMF for the potential action against one of the world’s largest patent renewal businesses, which they said reportedly processes more than two million renewals a year.
The firms are also working with the patent renewals consulting business Patent Annuity Costs, headed by well-known intellectual property solicitor Peter Rouse.
They are investigating claims that CPA Global breached standard service contracts with what may be tens of thousands of clients through concealed mark-ups, in at least one case estimated to exceed 90%.
Legal proceedings would be commenced in Jersey, where CPA Global is incorporated, on behalf of CPA Global clients whose agreements select Jersey as the forum for any disputes.
The case is being led by James Corbett QC, a lawyer in Kobre & Kim’s London office, who said: “Based on the investigation so far, the overcharging could be shocking. Based on models, the aggregate over-charges could total hundreds of millions of dollars over a 10-year claim period.”
Baker & Partners’ senior partner Stephen Baker added: “We engaged with Bentham IMF to help clients enforce their rights on a risk-free basis without the need to secure representation.
“Given the international nature of CPA Global’s business, we have partnered with a global firm to work with our experienced Jersey team to seek effective redress for claimants from around the world.”
In a statement, CPA Global said: “CPA Global categorically and emphatically denies any wrongdoing in our business. The fees for our service are defined in our agreements with our customers, and we adhere to those agreements fully.
“CPA Global prides itself on its industry-leading ethical standards – we were recently one of the first companies globally to achieve the ISO 37001 standard for anti-bribery management systems.
“We consider any speculation about future litigation that might or might not take place to be a deliberate attempt to tarnish our good business reputation and, as we always have, will continue to vigorously defend ourselves against any such vexatious speculation.”