Using USPTO patent data to inform and develop patent prosecution strategies is a growing trend among professionals. This is no surprise—analyzing patent examiner statistics and other performance metrics provides insights that would otherwise be unknown and reveals opportunities for action that often go overlooked. That being said, not all data should be relied upon for making predictions and informing decisions. Patent professionals looking to leverage USPTO patent data to improve their performance should always keep in mind the “three Cs” of reliable patent data.
1. Is My Patent Data Current (And Does It Need to Be)?
It may seem obvious that outdated patent data should be approached with caution, but what is not always obvious is whether information is still relevant. Some of the most commonly used USPTO patent statistics, such as patent examiner allowance rates and average prosecution times, are career statistics that sometimes fail to accurately reflect an examiner’s more recent decision trends. Career statistics still have their place and provide a solid foundational understanding of a patent examiner. However, advanced, algorithm-based metrics, such as an examiner’s PatentAdvisor ETA™ provided by the LexisNexis PatentAdvisor® patent prosecution platform, adjust for examiner trends and provide a more accurate indicator of a patent examiner’s future decisions.
2. Is This Information Correct?
Naturally, statistics calculated directly from USPTO patent data are going to be accurate, but that does not mean you are using the correct data for your situation. For example, the statistics for a USPTO art unit may be useful for making generalizations about the examiners within the art unit, but looking directly at your assigned patent examiner statistics will be more applicable to your patent application. Similarly, sometimes patent data is skewed because it includes more patent documents than necessary, such as when you need to evaluate only pending patent applications but your data set includes those that have been granted or abandoned. PatentAdvisor™ and other sophisticated patent prosecution tools allow users to filter out irrelevant information so the data they receive is appropriate.
3. Am I Using Data With the Proper Context?
Have you ever asked why a patent statistic is so high or low? Sometimes doing so pays off. Patent examiners who are just starting off at the USPTO often have lower allowance rates than experienced patent examiners, which is often explained by them having examined only a handful of patent applications (where one abandonment could have a major statistical impact) or by them erring on the side of caution by rejecting patent applications more readily. The point is, there are situations where context is key. Proprietary patent metrics, such as those offered through PatentAdvisor, are sometimes calculated in consideration of the surrounding circumstances and can paint a more accurate picture of a patent examiner’s difficulty.
Good data is invaluable, but not all data is reliable. The patent analytics software, PatentAdvisor provides users with raw USPTO statistics and proprietary patent metrics to ensure the information they rely on is current, correct and considered in context.