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One common way that metrics vary from one law department to another arises from their treatment of patent-related costs. Some law departments absorb the full cost of patent preparation and prosecution, as well as registration in foreign countries and the ensuing annual annuity fees paid to governments. Other departments revert to clients some portion along that continuum of costs. For example, some departments include the cost to obtain a patent in their legal budget, but thereafter clients pay for government fees and annuities. In between, the law department also picks up the costs of foreign patent agents as well as translation costs (which can often be considerable).

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