“Big data” is a big buzzword, and often refers to the ability of large entities, such as major financial institutions or the federal government, to collect massive amounts of customer information and harness it in number-crunching databases to yield new insights that guide strategic planning.


The ability to manipulate “big data” quickly, though, more often has been an equalizer between big and small commercial entities, and law firms are no exception.

Writing in the ABA Journal, attorney Robert Ambrogi recently reported how even small law firms and solo practitioners are using intellectual property software tools to manipulate big data to their own advantage.

Ambrogi spoke with Philadelphia intellectual property firm Caesar, Rivise, Bernstein, Cohen & Pokotilow, an 18-attorney firm that uses LexisNexis® PatentAdvisor℠ to help guide their patent prosecution efforts on behalf of clients.

“The attorney can look back at 10 to 20 years of the examiner’s history,” the firm’s managing partner David M. Tener told Ambrogi. “What is the examiner’s record on appeal? What kind of backlog does the examiner have? How do cases fare after an interview with the examiner? In some cases, it makes the decision for you.”

Only PatentAdvisor data tools offer the ability to mine the bulk USPTO data in such a way that any individual examiner’s application processing history can be analyzed using metrics such as average time until first office action, the percentage of applications for which applicants had to file a RCE, and many others.

Tener also alluded to the advantages of another, sometimes overlooked, capacity within PatentAdvisor: the ability to assess the performance of one’s IP prosecution efforts on an individual or group basis in comparison to their wider peer group with the Briefcase feature available within PatentAdvisor.

Ambrogi is right: Big data is not just for big firms. The information contained in the PatentAdvisor Briefcase tool allows firms to access and analyze selected swaths of big data not available through the USPTO.

No matter how big or small your intellectual property portfolio, data analytics can help all IP professionals practice smarter.

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