The Future of Patent Prosecution: How Data Analytics Is Moving Us Forward

July 14, 2017 David Bennett

The world is now “smarter” than it used to be. Software has made its way into nearly every aspect of our lives. It is in our cars, our phones, our televisions—even our homes have become “smarter.” Smarter business now means taking advantage of our ability to process and interpret a seemingly endless amount of data. Smart business is using data analytics to identify trends, enhance predictability and make intelligent decisions beyond what the human mind can do alone. Data analytics has disrupted traditional notions of how to define value and measure success in many industries and now it is doing the same for patent prosecution.

Modern Approaches in a Traditional Field

To survive in business, one must remain agile and adaptable. For this reason, industries ranging from agriculture to online marketing have tapped into a method of parsing analytical data to make better decisions and to choose more cost-effective approaches for creating value. Relative to most industries, the legal field has been slow to adapt to this new model of data-driven decision-making because the traditional nature of law means changes occur incrementally. However, change is now apparent as many law firms and IP departments have begun to leverage the power of data analytics to maximize value while minimizing costs, bringing a new level of sophistication to many practice areas including patent prosecution.

Data Analytics Meets Patents

Patent attorneys and other IP professionals are now applying data analytics to patent prosecution with promising results. Through patent analytics, lawyers are finding actionable information in unexpected places. Previously undiscovered or overlooked metrics are now being integrated into important decisions for a more tailored approach to prosecuting each application. For example, patent analytics can highlight specific events, such as conducting interviews with certain examiners, which may improve an application’s chances of being allowed.

In addition to uncovering new sets of key performance indicators, analytics can help to retroactively evaluate the performance of patent applications in new ways. For example, being able to measure an application’s pendency, not just in time but in dollar amounts as well, provides lawyers with a way to conduct a true cost-benefit analysis.

Moreover, while statistics can show lawyers how long an application was pending, there is additional value in knowing how many office actions an application faced when compared to the average number of office actions for similarly situated applications.

Imagine an application that was pending for five years, and in that time the application faced six office actions. Five years may be typical for that type of application, but with an average cost of $3,000 to respond to each office action, the return on investment in continuing prosecution may have been very small. This is particularly true if other applications brought before the same art unit or the same examiner averaged only two office actions. Thus, by employing a data-driven approach, IP practitioners are able to utilize metrics to predict success and uncover the best strategy for providing value to clients.

LexisNexis PatentAdvisor® Makes Patent Analytics Easy

Analytics and patent prosecution have been brought together with unprecedented success through PatentAdvisor™. Users can quickly create their own analytics, generate reports and even obtain prosecution guidance that will maximize the value of their patent applications. Patent professionals can now craft winning strategies through accessible and easy-to-use patent analytics. PatentAdvisor brings a new level of sophistication to approaching patent prosecution.

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