There are many reasons to assess a patent application’s value. Venture capitalists looking to invest in a company may wish to value the company’s patent portfolio to help determine the company’s value and the risk of their investment. For small companies, a valuable patent could be their ticket to funding. Moreover, applicants with pending patent applications can weigh their patent application’s potential value against the cost of patent prosecution decisions to help develop an efficient patent prosecution strategy.
The most common patent value indicators are not available until long after a patent has been issued. A patent’s litigation history, for example, can provide key insights into the scope and strength of a granted patent, but it is only useful in circumstances where litigation has actually occurred. Evaluating the value of pending patent applications can be much more difficult because there is less information to draw upon. Due to the complexity of valuing patent applications and patent portfolios comprised of patent applications, any hint at a patent’s value can be informative. As a result, more patent practitioners are turning to patent analytics to uncover key insights that can be used to help determine the value of early-stage patent documents.
Patent Application Value Indicators
Valuing a patent application is particularly difficult because, in addition to determining the potential strength and market value of the patent application, the overall cost and likelihood of the patent being granted should also be taken into account. Fortunately, the LexisNexis PatentAdvisor® patent prosecution platform has several tools to help value patent applications at various stages of the patent process.
LexisNexis PathWays™ – The PathWays™ tool, available on the PatentAdvisor® platform, can help patent applicants assess the difficulty future prosecution based on the content of a patent application even before it is filed. The PathWays tool uses keywords to predict which USPTO art units are most likely to evaluate a patent application. PathWays also provides patent statistics about the likely art units that can indicate how difficult and expensive patent prosecution will be. With this information, patent applicants can gain a sense for their odds against the USPTO, and can adjust their valuation of the patent application accordingly.
PatentAdvisor Examiner ETA™ – After filing and once a patent examiner has been assigned, PatentAdvisor provides users with the most predictive patent metric available. PatentAdvisor calculates an Examiner ETA™ value for each USPTO patent examiner based on several patent statistics, which can be used to predict how patent prosecution will play out. For example, patent examiners with low ETA values are statistically very likely to issue patents quickly and with few changes to a patent application’s claims. Patent examiners with high ETA values, on the other hand, have a low likelihood of granting a patent and, if a patent is granted, then it will most likely be granted after significant changes. Because low-ETA patent applications are much more likely to have favorable prosecution outcomes, they often have greater perceived value than patent applications assigned to patent examiners with high ETA values.
PatentAdvisor Patent Statistics – As patent prosecution progresses, patent applicants are often faced with many strategic decisions. The PatentAdvisor platform provides several patent statistics that can be used to more effectively navigate the patent process. For example, should an applicant need to decide between filing an RCE or an appeal, PatentAdvisor can show users how other patent applicants fared against their patent examiner in similar situations. Patent applicants can use this information to choose the path that is most likely to result in a granted patent, and can assess the patent application’s value based on its likelihood of being issued.
LexisNexis® IP offers patent prosecution solutions to help assign value to patent applications in all stages of the patent process. For more information on valuing patent applications, listen to the webinar recording: “Prosecuting for Value: Identifying and Creating Perceived Patent Strength” here.
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