According to LexisNexis’s PatentAdvisor, Smith & Hopen has outperformed US News’ top 14 patent firms since at least as early as 2015. You may have seen our recent post showing that Smith & Hopen outperformed the top 5 firms according to US News. We decided to expand the comparison to include the top 14 firms. PatentAdvisor only allows for a total of 15 firms in the comparison function, so we could only compare Smith & Hopen to the top 14 firms. As shown below, Smith & Hopen outperformed the top 14 US patent firms in every provided metric for effectiveness and efficiency.


As previously explained, effectiveness is based on allowance rate, which is the number of patent applications that are allowed to issue into patents. So, if a firm filed 100 patent applications and 90 of those applications were allowed, 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. As it turns out, none of the top 14 firms had a 90% allowance rate, which you can see in the graph below produced by LexisNexis.

Graph of allowance rate

Again, we redacted the names of the firms to avoid any hard feelings. Also, the data is based on percentages to avoid volume bias.


Let’s look at efficiency in terms of the average time to allowance, the average number of office actions (i.e. rejections), and Lexis Nexis’s proprietary PatentAdvisor Efficiency Score. The first two parameters are self-explanatory. The proprietary PatentAdvisor Efficiency Score is described as a metric to level the playing field by looking at the difficulty levels of the patent examiners. I can’t speak to how the score is calculated, but it does provide us with another comparative metric. As you can see below, Smith & Hopen outperformed the top 14 firms in every metric.  

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

Graph of time to allowance

As you can see, Smith & Hopen on average secures an allowance in about 6.5 months. None of the top 14 firms are close to that average.

Next, let’s look at the average number of Office Actions:

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.

Effectiveness and Efficiency

LexisNexis also provided the following graph of allowance rate vs time to allowance. As you can see, we are way out in front and above the rest.

Graph of allowance rate vs time to allowance

As you can see one firm has an allowance rate below the national average. You might want to request that your patent counsel provide their data on effectiveness and efficiency. A firm’s reputation and accolades are usually good indicators of what you can expect from that law firm, but the data provides quantitative insights that you may not get elsewhere.