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Leveraging Statistics to Improve Patent Prosecution



On game day, every good coach has made sure his team has practiced and drilled in anticipation of the match, but it is the great coaches who go that extra distance to know everything worth knowing about the opposing team.  It may be a pitcher’s Earned Run Average or a receiver’s Yards After the Catch, but the great coaches will know every meaningful statistic that may help call the perfect game against their opponent.

If sports coaches realize the vast potential of knowing their opponents’ statistics, why are patent hopefuls reluctant to realize the same truth?  If companies could leverage specific data about the patent examiners and art units before which their applications are pending, patents might be issued in shorter times with less costs incurred and with more headaches avoided.  Instead of butting heads with examiners over claims and objections, knowledge of the examiner’s tendencies in the past will allow companies to work around potential road blocks.  A certain examiner may have a reputation for favoring §103 obviousness type rejections on over 70 percent of non-final office actions she issues.  Or perhaps it comes to light that applications assigned to a given art unit reach a final disposition an average six months earlier, if the applicant is granted an interview with the examiner.  By carefully drafting claims and scheduling resources, the otherwise turtle-like patent process can be expedited at reduced cost to the applicant.

The oft-quoted phrase is “knowledge is power,” and never has that been truer than in the realm of patent prosecution.

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