There is a reason “predictive analytics” has become one of the top buzzwords in tech—everyone from Uber to Facebook utilizes these advanced statistical techniques to understand their users and drive strategic decision making. With companies collecting more information than ever before, they need to have processes in place to be able to understand and draw insights from the data they collect. Enter predictive analytics, which leverages algorithms, machine learning and data mining techniques to identify patterns in order to predict future outcomes.
Lawyers are beginning to take notice of this trend, using predictive analytics to gain insight into e-discovery, create better contracts, predict litigation outcomes and manage risk. Predictive analytics also has the potential to be disruptive for patent prosecution practice, providing patent attorneys with the ability to pursue applications that have a high likelihood of issuing, reduce money spent on office actions, see and understand the prosecution history of specific examiners, and compare the performance of outside firms and in-house counsel.
Know in Advance if a Patent Will Issue
Patent prosecutors can use predictive analytics to determine the likelihood of their patent issuing very early on in the examination process. By viewing statistics on matters like examiner allowance rates, examination timelines, the number of pending RCEs and art units, patent attorneys can get a comprehensive view of whether a patent application is likely to issue. Attorneys can use this insight to develop successful prosecution strategies and to wisely allocate their time and resources.
Use Examiner Averages to Reduce Prosecution Expenses
Predictive analytics can also be used to help patent attorneys reduce the number of office actions they receive, in turn reducing prosecution expenses. Attorneys can see how their methodology stacks up by comparing their prosecution history to examiner averages. For example, if the average number of office actions before allowance for a particular examiner is two, and an attorney has received six office actions while prosecuting an application, the attorney might use that metric to determine whether it is worth the time and money to continue to prosecute that application.
On a broader scale, examiner averages can be viewed in the aggregate to help patent attorneys determine over time whether they are consistently overspending on office actions. Attorneys can use this information to revise prosecution practices to promote efficiency and cost-effectiveness.
Use an Examiner’s Prosecution History to Predict Future Actions
Additionally, patent attorneys can use predictive analytics to analyze an examiner’s prosecution history and predict how that examiner will treat future patent applications. Statistics such as examiner allowance rates, art unit allowance rates and the average number of office actions before allowance can be used to help inform the preparation of patent applications and the development of prosecution strategies. For example, learning the allowance rate following an interview for a particular examiner can help attorneys determine whether scheduling an examiner interview is the best course of action for a pending application.
Compare the Performance of Firms and In-House Counsel
Predictive analytics can help lawyers compare the prosecution performance of different firms to see which might be the best fit for prosecuting a specific application or applications for a particular art unit. Metrics on firm performance can also be compared to in-house prosecution performance, assisting in-house counsel in determining the most effective and efficient course of action for prosecution.
Incorporate Predictive Analytics into Your Patent Practice
Products like LexisNexis PatentAdvisor® can help patent prosecutors harness the power of predictive analytics. PatentAdvisor™ offers attorneys a suite of analytics tools that can improve prosecution efficiency, simplify portfolio management, identify at-risk patents and streamline prosecution strategy.