Round 2: Patent Gettin’ Contest

The has not been around long but we have already acquired a nice audience of patent prosecution professionals. One of our readers recently wrote in and asked a follow up question related to the Patent Gettin’ Contest. If you missed that post, here is the link:

Patent Gettin’ Contest

Anyway, the reader wanted to know whether removing continuation applications and/or foreign originated applications would change the outcome of the contest. Now THAT is an excellent question. So, here we go. Round 2 of the Patent Gettin’ Contest!

First thing is first, we will prune the application set utilized in Round 1 of the Patent Getting Contest. Specifically, we will remove all applications types emphasized with green highlighting in this list:


Okay, so that lowered the number of Minnesota connected applications included in the contest from 316 to just 210. It also completely eliminated 3M as a contestant, because it lowered their application set to almost zero. Thus, in the new contest, contestants will be:

list 5

The easiest way to approach this is to compare Round 1 of the contest (top table – includes continuations and foreign originated applications) with Round 2 of the contest (bottom table – excludes continuations and foreign originated applications).

Cropped Table

New Contest

From our perspective, the results did not change TOO much. But let’s take a closer look across the pool of contestants.

The results for Seagate stayed close to the same. However, we maybe did not give Seagate proper credit in Round 1. So let’s remedy that now. The Seagate metrics are not too shabby. Their RCE rate is below average. On the other hand, their appeal rate is double the 4% bench mark but is 8.5% really such a big deal? They have no applications with two or more RCE’s. And they average only 0.9 office actions per each of their 71 grants. Hats off to Bob and the others at Seagate!

Now let’s take a second look at Hollingsworth Davis, who was the winner in Round 1. Their numbers held up nicely even after continuations and foreign originated applications were removed. Their RCE rate, appeal rate, amount of time per allowance, and average number of office actions are at or below the benchmarks. It is also interesting they they conducted no interviews compared to the 9 conducted by Seagate. Not sure what to tell you about the message there. Not enough data to draw any reasonable conclusions. Just an interesting fact, that’s all.

Fish & Richardson probably benefited the most by removal of continuations and foreign originated applications. But the nature of that benefit is counter intuitive. One would think that there would be more RCE’s when you remove continuation applications? But the Fish RCE rate dropped by about 5%! And let’s not miss that Fish had a 0% appeal rate in both rounds. Fish also stacks up with Hollingsworth on time per grant and average number of office actions. I think it is fair to say that Fish and Hollingsworth became neck and neck in Round 2.

The adjustments made in Round 2 were not as nice to any of Shumaker, Merchant or Mueting. All of these firms had a more intuitive increase in the RCE rates. They also increased their time to allowance and average of two office actions per grant. These changes are more along the lines of what you would expect when you remove continuations and foreign originated applications.


We were surprised that there was not a greater shift in the performance metrics after continuations and foreign originated applications were removed. Were you surprised? Perhaps the impression that most of us have that continuations receive favorable treatment is overblown? That is a good topic to revisit on another day.




We are going to call it a tie between Fish and Hollingsworth. Honorable mention to Seagate. A round of applause to all three groups! Congratulations!

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