Patent Gettin’ Contest

Cropped Table

This table represents a good old fashion PATENT GETTIN’ CONTEST.  Let’s work through it so that the numbers make complete sense.

The contest participants.  The purpose of this contest is to decide which of the following eight entities is possibly the best at obtaining patent grants quickly.


Before you start freaking out about claim quality being the primary driver of compact prosecution, let me say one thing.  Each of these eight candidates is a well respected law firm or company staffed with fully qualified patent professionals.  We are going to assume that every one of these professionals is always on the mission to maximize claim quality.  Thus, the winner of our contest will be the entity that proves to be the best at obtaining patents the most quickly regardless of claim quality.

The Arena.  Okay, with that settled, let’s talk about the methodology.  In order for this to be a fair contest, this battle must take place within one common arena.  That arena shall be Tech Center Group 2680.  As you can see in this table below, the art units within this arena grant patents at a fairly consistent rate.  So, for the most part, none of our contestants has an unfair advantage.


The metrics to be evaluated.  The patent prosecution statistics identified in columns B through I will be the metrics for evaluating the competitors.  Column B shows the number of patents granted in the 2680 arena during 2017/2018.  Column C is allowance rate but is mostly not applicable because participants are only being evaluated based on patents granted in 2017/2017.  Column D is the percentage of the applications that required at least one RCE prior to grant.  Column E is the percentage of the applications that required an appeal cycle prior to grant.  Column F is the average amount of time from the first office action to the Notice of Allowance.  Column G is the number of applications that required two or more RCE’s.  Column H is the average number of office actions between filing and issuance.  Finally, Column I is just for fun but represents the number of applications with a clear sign that an interview was conducted.

the metrics

Comparative baselines.   In order to better understand the differences in the metrics of our competitors, we need baseline context.  In this case, we have two baselines, which are presented in rows 2 and 3 of our table.  Row 2 provides the numbers for the entire USPTO but limited to just activity in Tech Center Group 2680.  In that same row, allowance rate and number of grants for just 2017/2018 are shown in parenthesis.  Row three provides the numbers for all activity originating from Minnesota companies and law firms in Tech Center Group 2680 during 2017/2018.  Thus, we can compare our competitors to relevant segments of the entire USPTO and just Minnesotans.


Showtime – The Evaluation.  Interesting positive numbers are highlighted in green.  Interesting negative numbers are highlighted in red.

The Mueting Raasch firm shows an RCE rate in Column D that is about twice as high as both the Minnesota and USPTO average.  It is therefore not surprising that they end up with the highest average number of office actions in column H at 1.7.

On the other hand, the Hollingsworth Davis firm has an RCE rate in Column D that is but a small fraction of the Minnesota and USPTO averages.  Again, it is not surprising that they average just 0.6 office actions per grant.  They averaged only six months per grant!

The Shumaker & Sieffert firm appeals a higher than average number of applications at 8.3 percent.  This is part of the reason that they require the most amount of time to secure a patent grant.  They also average 1.7 office actions per grant, a number that should have been made red in Column H.

A few random shout outs are in order.  It should be pointed out that 3M has the most applications that required multiple RCE’s (4).  The Shumaker firm conducted 19 interviews in 24 granted applications.     The Schwegman firm and 3M also interviewed applications at a high rate.

And the winner is…   

hollNOTE:  The writers of this blog have no affiliation with this firm.  This was an objective evaluation.  In the coming days, perhaps we will dig a little bit deeper to see if the Hollignsworth firm had a less than obvious favorable bias or advantage. 🙂  But for now, let’s give credit where credit is due…and give this firm a round of applause.  Congrats!


Leave a Reply