CPA Global probed for ‘alleged patent overcharging’

International law firm Kobre & Kim and Jersey (UK) law firm Baker & Partners announced on Friday they entered a funding arrangement with litigation financier Bentham IMF “to investigate and possibly sue CPA Global, alleging systematic and widespread overcharging of clients for patent renewal services.”

CPA Global is based in Jersey in the UK’s Channel Islands and is a patent management services giant that manages more than two million patents for more than 10,000 customers around the world.

CPA Global told Reuters earlier this month it “categorically and emphatically denies any wrongdoing …”

“The fees for our service are defined in our agreements with our customers, and we adhere to those agreements fully,” said CPA Global.

“CPA Global prides itself on its industry-leading ethical standards.”

CPA Global added: “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.”

The law firms said they are also working with the patent renewals consulting business Patent Annuity Costs Limited, headed by Peter Rouse.

The firms said CPA Global is one of the world’s largest patent renewal companies, reportedly processing more than two million patent renewals per year.

“The potential actions will allege 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 percent,” the law firms alleged in a press release.

“The proposed legal proceedings would be commenced in Jersey, one of the UK’s Channel Islands, where CPA Global is incorporated, on behalf of CPA Global clients whose agreements select Jersey as the forum for any disputes.

“Bentham IMF will provide non-recourse funding to CPA Global customers who wish to pursue claims against CPA Global.”

James Corbett QC of Kobre & Kim, who is leading the investigation and proposed action, 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 ten-year claim period.”

Baker & Partners’ senior partner Stephen Baker said: “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.”

Last month, UK-based private equity firm Cinven said it agreed to sell CPA Global to Los Angeles-based buyout firm Leonard Green & Partners, L.P. for an undisclosed consideration.

Numerous news outlets put the price, including debt, at around $3.1 billion.

Completion of the deal is subject to customary regulatory approval.