According to LexisNexis’s PatentAdvisor, Smith & Hopen has outperformed US News’s top 5 patent firms since at least as early as 2015. We recently subscribed to LexisNexis’s PatentAdvisor to better understand how effective and efficient our firm is at securing patents for our clients. The system mines data from the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) to determine, among other things, a firm’s effectiveness and efficiency. While we were pleased (but not satisfied) with our numbers, we were curious to see how we compared to the top patent firms in the US. So, we took the 5 top patent firms according to US News and ran the data. Smith & Hopen outperformed the top 5 US patent firms in every provided metric for effectiveness and efficiency.

Effectiveness

Effectiveness is based on allowance rate, which is the number of patent applications that the USPTO allowed to issue into patents. So, if a firm filed 100 patent applications and the USPTO allows 90 of those applications, the firm has an allowance rate of 90%. According to the USPTO, the national average allowance rate since is 2016 is 67.9%. In other words, more than 30% of all US patent applications on average were abandoned since 2016. We previously reported that our allowance rate since 2015 was 90.3%. We are very proud of that statistic, but how does Smith & Hopen compare to the “best” law firms in the country? As it turns out, none of the top 5 firms had a 90% allowance rate, which you can see in the graph below produced by LexisNexis.

Graph of allowance rate

I opted to redact the names of the firms to avoid any hard feelings. Also, we acknowledge that these massive patent firms churned out a great number of applications since 2015, but the data is based on percentages to avoid volume bias.

Efficiency

Let’s look at efficiency. You can determine efficiency in several ways using the PatentAdvisor system. You can look at the average time to allowance, the average number of office actions (i.e. rejections), and/or Lexis Nexis’s proprietary PatentAdvisor Efficiency Score. The first two parameters are self-explanatory. PatentAdvisor describes its Efficiency Score as a metric to level the playing field by looking at the difficulty levels of the patent examiners. I can’t speak to how PatentAdvisor calculates the score, but the score provides us with another comparative metric. Again, we compared Smith & Hopen to the top 5 US patent firms according to US News. As you can see below, Smith & Hopen outperformed these top 5 firms in every metric.  

First, let’s look at time to allowance as provided by LexisNexis:

Graph of average time to allowance

As you can see, Smith & Hopen on average secures an allowance in about 6.5 months. Each of the top 5 firms takes nearly twice as long.

Next, let’s look average number of Office Actions as provided by LexisNexis:

Graph of average number of Office Actions

Smith & Hopen averages less than 1 rejection per application. None of the top firms can say that.

Finally, let’s consider the PatentAdvisor Efficiency Score as provided by LexisNexis:

PatentAdvisor Efficiency Score

Smith & Hopen outperformed the competition in this metric as well.

LexisNexis also provided the following graph of allowance rate vs time to allowance. The graph helps show how the firms compare to each other. As you can see, we are way out in front and above the rest.

Graph of allowance rate vs time to allowance
Graph of allowance rate vs time to allowance

Takeaway

Next time you are in need of patent counsel, ask to see some data on their effectiveness and efficiency. A firm’s reputation and accolades are usually good indicators of what you can expect from that law firm. However, you might want to consider looking into the data. You simply can’t argue with data.