More than three-quarters of intellectual-property professionals report that their budgets declined or stagnated this year, leaving many legal departments forced to try to do more with less. Companies are also being more strategic in their IP approaches -- instead of automatically filing foreign patent claims, for instance, many firms are now carefully weighing the benefits of holding a foreign patent against the cost of applying for one. "There is more deliberate discussion [about these questions] than ever before," says one IP lawyer.

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