Most patent statistics only tell a small part of the overall story. For example, the most heavily relied upon patent prosecution metric is a patent examiner’s allowance rate. Each examiner allowance rate communicates the percentage of patent applications an examiner has allowed compared to the total number of patent applications he or she has been assigned. While an allowance rate is a valuable indicator of how likely a specific patent examiner is to grant or reject a patent, there are inherent issues in relying on allowance rates alone to predict examiners’ future actions.

Allowance rates and other metrics that focus solely on one patent statistic can be misleading because they fail to consider the circumstances surrounding a patent examiner’s previous decisions. LexisNexis® IP has developed its proprietary PatentAdvisor ETA™ metric to compensate for the pitfalls of commonly relied-upon patent indicators and to help patent professionals strategize more effectively throughout patent prosecution.

What is PatentAdvisor ETA™?

ETA™ is our most reliable predictive patent metric. Also known as “Examiner Time Allocation,” each examiner ETA score is, at its core, an alarm system that communicates how examiners spend their time when they go to work every day – whether they are more involved in issuing patents or in issuing rejections.

However, a plain ratio of patent rejections to patent allowances is not enough information to reliably predict how an examiner will treat your pending patent application. That is why each ETA also bakes into its algorithm a patent examiner’s experience (number of years at the USPTO and number of patent applications examined), allowance trends (weighing recent actions more heavily to reduce bias against low allowance rates), average prosecution lengths, and the costs typically incurred when facing the patent examiner – the PatentAdvisor proprietary algorithm considers surrounding circumstances to produce easy-to-interpret ETA metric values and color codes that convey the likely ease or difficulty in prosecuting your patent application.

In general:

Green (ETA of 0.1 to 2.5) indicates –

• High likelihood of short patent prosecution length; 

• Patent examiner having lots of patent examination experience; 

• Patent examiner granting over 150 patent applications per year, on average. 

Yellow (ETA of 2.6 to 5.9) indicates –

• Mediocre patent prosecution length; 

• Patent examiner having average patent examination experience; 

• Patent examiner granting between 15-150 patent applications per year, on average. 

Red (ETA > 5.9) indicates –

• High likelihood of long patent prosecution length; 

• Patent examiner having less patent prosecution experience; 

• Patent examiner granting less than 15 patent applications per year, on average.

Now you can easily, and with more accuracy than ever, predict your assigned examiner’s behavior so that you know how to adjust your prosecution strategy accordingly.

ETA algorithms are consistently tested using reverse regression, and are consistently improving in data interpretation and predictive accuracy. Patent professionals can also strive for improvement by leveraging data analytics for better patent prosecution results.

Using ETA to Improve Prosecution Strategies

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