Compare U.S. Patent Prosecution Law Firms — Make Sure the Firm is Right for Your Company

December 14, 2016 Edwin Ariens

With the holiday season underway the anticipation is growing for the big day. However, it is not only children anxiously listening in their beds for Santa’s sleigh. Many managers are equally anxious to see their end of year financials. How did we perform? How did we do compared to competitors? Did our strategies pay off? In the spirit of the season we showcase USPTO Art Unit 3714 - Amusement Devices: Toys, to illustrate how you can evaluate your patent prosecution performance any day of the year. 

We have all heard the debates on the relative merits of using an IP boutique law firm compared to a large multi-practice firm. Both types of firms tout they are better equipped to handle the patent prosecution of potential clients based on their experience and subject matter expertise. So what do the actual results tell us (at least for Art Unit 3714)?

The table below shows the top law firms active in AU 3714 shown by number of applications. Combined these firms handled a little over 10% of the total USPTO cases for this Art Unit.1 All of them have achieved an allowance rate that is much higher than the average for the art unit. The large multi-practice firms are shown in blue.

Top Law Firms Active in Art Unit 3714 Shown By Number of Applications

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While there are large differences in all measured categories you cannot explain any of them by type of law firm. The categories referenced above show the current status of the applications and relative efficiency of each firm.  In this Art Unit, there is no statistical evidence in favor of either type of law firm.

Our congratulations go to the top performers in this Art Unit, especially Nixon Peabody and Nixon & Vanderhye. Both firms have allowance rates significantly higher than the average for AU 3714 while holding down client costs with fewer RCEs.  On the other hand, law firm “B” is still able to say it has a higher allowance rate than the Art Unit average; however, it is much lower than some of its competitors while having a very high percentage of RCEs and taking the longest time to achieve this result for their clients. How does your law firm compare in the art units that are most important to you?

Make the Top of the List

Just when you thought you had every possible metric for your dashboard, we thought we would show you a few more. Prosecution data can also be used to compare companies who are operating in the same business area. Now you can compare how you are doing relative to your competitors in efficiently getting patents in specific art units. Shown below is the top corporations involved in 3714 toy patent prosecution when we list the number of cases.2

Top Corporations Involved In Art Unit 3714 (Toys) Patent Prosecution 

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As with law firms it is key not to focus solely on the number of granted patents. The number of granted patents combined with time to allowance and low percentages of appeals and RCEs is indicative of efficient patent prosecution. As an example, Nintendo and Microsoft had a similar number of applications but Nintendo had 68% of them become patents as compared to 42% for Microsoft. Moreover, the RCE rate for Microsoft was higher meaning it is likely their prosecution costs were also higher with many more applications being abandoned. So Nintendo has a real competitive advantage as it gets more patents granted at what can be significantly lower costs.

If knowing where you stand against your competitors, understanding your relative performance in specific art units or establishing this sort of competitive advantage in patent prosecution is at the top of your wish list, contact us for more information. 

 


[1 & 2] The data presented is based on actual USPTO data and open to the public.

 

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Are Your USPTO Patent Applications Stuck in a Low Allowance Art Unit?
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