What if you could predict how long your latest patent application will take to reach allowance? Forecasting that timeline would allow you to make better decisions about where your IP department spends its time.
Budgeting for an intellectual property department is sometimes based on intuition accumulated over years of experience. What if you could combine that experience with the ability to read future outcomes with a reasonable degree of certainty?
The Future is Data
Predictive analytics have transformed the business world. While most companies commonly study their retrospective data in an effort to understand their past performance, the use of predictive data analysis tripled between 2009 and 2012 alone, according to a survey of 600 business executives by consulting company Accenture.
“This impressive surge reflects a growing sophistication in analytics capabilities that anticipate tomorrow rather than explain yesterday,” concluded the survey report.
Anticipating a Patent Application’s Journey
In the field of intellectual property, data analytics tools can be leveraged by patent professionals to study the past history of the USPTO’s decision-making process. From the average pendency for similar applications within a classification to an individual examiner’s average time to first office action, these powerful software tools cull through the entire record of USPTO data to offer insight based on statistics.
That information can be used by patent attorneys to forecast, for example, how long their pending patent applications are likely to take, giving chief IP counsel a clearer idea of the activities his or her department will be undertaking over the course of the next few years.
Allocating IP Resources
Properly planning a budget for an upcoming fiscal year with variable expenses can be demanding. The rise of predictive analytics tools in patent prosecution, however, gives IP directors a greater degree of control and insight over what can be an unpredictable process.
These tools mine the available body of patent data to provide a company’s lead intellectual property officer with detailed historical information with which to forecast time and manpower estimates for the upcoming fiscal year. The ability to perform application-specific budget forecasting based on historical patent examiner performance data and see specific information on examiner allowance rates and art unit statistics for forecasting purposes can assist in more accurate and controlled budgeting.