Have you ever heard the business truism that you should “under-promise and over-deliver”? Your clients will be pleased to learn that you have exceeded their expectations, but how do you begin to set their expectations in the first place? Patent prosecution can vary greatly in the obstacles that will be faced, in the amount of time that will be invested, and, most importantly, in the total dollar amount that will be spent over the time it takes for a patent to issue. As a professional, it is important to provide accurate estimates to your clients so that you can manage their expectations and keep them happy. For many years, patent practitioners had no choice but to make estimates based only on their own experiences and generalizations made of the roughly 500,000 patent applications filed every year with the USPTO. Fortunately, patent practitioners now have the ability to leverage patent data analytics and provide estimates with greater accuracy than ever before.
Prior to even filing a patent application, a patent practitioner can reduce uncertainty by focusing on only the most relevant patent data. For example, data specific to the art units likely to be assigned to your patent application may be more helpful than data pertaining to the entire USPTO, which includes data from the many other, less relevant art units. Which art unit data should be considered depends on the subject matter of the patent application involved, but by researching previously-filed applications that contain subject matter similar to that of your application, you can develop a greater sense of where to direct your attention. From there, patent analysis tools and patent analysis software, such as LexisNexis PatentAdvisor®, can be used to access relevant art unit patent data, which can then be used to predict the likelihood that your patent will be granted, how long patent prosecution will take, and the number of office actions you are likely to have to handle throughout the process.
After a patent application is filed and it is assigned to a patent examiner, examiner-specific patent data becomes available to patent practitioners that can be used to predict the course of patent prosecution with far greater confidence. By evaluating your USPTO examiner’s patent statistics, the cost of prosecuting your application becomes much more apparent, and this information can be used to tighten up your initial estimates and to develop a patent strategy that maximizes the value your clients will receive from your services. How many office actions does prosecution with your examiner typically require, and what does that mean for the cost of prosecution? Are RCE’s typically needed before your patent application will be allowed, or have previous patent practitioners had more success on appeal? How long will that take, and what will that cost? The answers to questions like these lay out possibilities that can be quantified to serve as the basis for estimates you provide to your clients.
PatentAdvisor™ patent prosecution software is the predictive analytics tool with the answers you are looking for. PatentAdvisor makes patent prosecution more predictable so that you can set yourself up to over-deliver on what you promise.