Earlier this year we shared our findings on some of the most powerful patent firms of 2021. We have now evaluated this data at the lawyer level so that we can compare the activities and performance of patent attorneys and classify them according to their activities.
To calculate this ranking, our Data science team had to develop an AI-based tool to read millions of PDF documents available on the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) Public Pair website and then use neural networks to identify the attorney responsible for each application to identify.
Most law firms, and especially the larger firms, file applications under the law firm’s name. Hence, the first page of patents and easy use of application metadata only shows the company name (attorney / agent). However, by reading and analyzing the PDF documents, we were able to identify the patent attorney who signed the application documents. These attorneys are usually the ones who prepare the application, although in some cases the attorney in charge of the client may sign the application documents prepared by other lawyers, agents, or paralegals.
For this study, we limited our data to the U.S. utility models issued in 2020. The patent office issued more than 350,000 patents throughout the year. The bar chart below shows the top 10 most active patent attorneys based on the number of patents they received for their clients in 2020. Judging by the number of patents we have identified for each person (on average more than two patents per day), we believe that for at least the majority of applications, the top 10 attorneys or agents only examined and signed the applications made by their employees.
For each of the applications, we have calculated more than 30 unique criteria, including the number of extensions and interviews. The table below summarizes this for the top 10 most active lawyers and agents of 2021 based on the number of patents granted in 2020.
We further checked the backgrounds and clients of the above lawyers and agents. The most active person, Belinda Lee, is an agent with JC IP group based in Taipei, Taiwan. The company’s two largest customers are TSMC and ITRI.
Six out of ten people work for small IP boutiques. Travis Howell and Todd Guise both work for Oliff. The firm’s patent business comes almost exclusively from foreign clients. The company’s two largest customers are Toyota and Epson. Morgan Lewis’ Hosang Lee teamed up with a few other lawyers in 2019. As we have already reported Patexia Insight 78, some Asian customers such as Hyundai and Kia Motors switched from McDermott to Morgan Lewis as a result of this hiring. Maki Saitoh is a patent attorney at Oblon. The main purpose of the law firm is almost exclusively the granting of foreign patents. Top customers include Toshiba, Sony and Ricoh.
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Pedram Sameni is the CEO and founder of Patexy, an online platform launched in 2010 to connect IP experts from corporations, law firms and universities around the world. Pedram’s goal in founding Patexia is to bring transparency and efficiency to the IP system, thereby helping companies better evaluate, manage and use their IP assets. Pedram received his PhD in electrical engineering from the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada and prior to founding Patexia worked in a variety of roles for several high-tech companies including International Rectifier, PMC-Sierra and Foveon.